Living Standards in the UK

Demi Patsios and Paddy Hillyard

This conceptual note examines ways to operationalise and analyse living standards in the UK for the whole population, not just the poor, using PSE: UK survey data. It asks how the term ‘living standards’ should be defined, which components and aspects should be covered, and how this relates to concepts of ‘welfare’, subjective and objective.

It suggests that a definition of living standards should include ‘what people have, what they do and where they live’, and that they are determined ‘not only by choices and personal preferences but also by the degree of command they have over resources which restrict or do not restrict them in having or doing or participating in things they have reason to value including not only items and activities seen as essential but also those seen as desirable.’