Quality of life
Updated: 16 November 2023
Next update: Not yet determined
|Share of people with low satisfaction (percentage)||Average score for satisfaction (scale 0-10)|
|The entire population||25.6||6.8|
|80 years or older||20.0||7.4|
About the statistics
The statistics map the subjective quality of life in the population and highlight differences in quality of life between different groups. The themes included are satisfaction with life and different areas of life, experience of meaning and mastery, and presence of positive and negative emotions. The statistics are based on the national survey of Quality of Life.
Definition of indicators
Grouping scores into low/medium/high satisfaction/scores
A meaningful grouping of low and high scores is dependent on the distribution in the population. Since the scores on quality-of-life questions are generally skewed, with a preponderance of scores on the upper part of the scale, this means that the grouping of high/low scores must also be adapted to be able to meaningfully separate out the people who score relatively low and relatively high in relation to the distribution in total. This is the reason why the grouping of ‘low score/quality of life’ contains more scores (0-5) than the grouping of 'high score/quality of life' (9-10).
Satisfaction with life
The question asked is «Overall, how satisfied are you with your life these days?» and is answered on a scale from 0 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (very satisfied). The answers are presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has low (0-5), medium (6-8) or high (9-10) satisfaction with life.
Satisfaction with physical health
The question asked is « How satisfied are you with your physical health?” and is answered on a scale from 0 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (very satisfied). The answers are presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has low (0-5), medium (6-8) or high (9-10) satisfaction.
Satisfaction with mental health
The question asked is « How satisfied are you with your mental health?” and is answered on a scale from 0 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (very satisfied). The answers are presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has low (0-5), medium (6-8) or high (9-10) satisfaction.
Satisfaction with residence
The question asked is « How satisfied are you with your residence?” and is answered on a scale from 0 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (very satisfied). The answers are presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has low (0-5), medium (6-8) or high (9-10) satisfaction.
Satisfaction with leisure time available
The question asked is « How satisfied are you with the amount of leisure time you have to do the things you like?” and is answered on a scale from 0 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (very satisfied). The answers are presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has low (0-5), medium (6-8) or high (9-10) satisfaction.
Satisfaction with financial situation
The question asked is « How satisfied are you with your financial situation?” and is answered on a scale from 0 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (very satisfied). The answers are presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has low (0-5), medium (6-8) or high (9-10) satisfaction.
Optimism for the future
The question asked is « Overall, how satisfied do you think you will be with your life five years from now?» and is answered on a scale from 0 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (very satisfied). The answers are presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has a low (0-5), medium (6-8) or high (9-10) score.
Experience of meaning in life
The question asked is «Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?» and is answered on a scale from 0 (not at all worthwhile) to 10 (completely worthwhile). The answers are presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has a low (0-5), medium (6-8) or high (9-10) score.
Experience of commitment/engagement
The indicator is based on the mean of the scores on three questions: « How much of the time would you generally say you are...» (1) «Interested in what you are doing?», (2) « Absorbed in what you are doing?» and (3) « Enthusiastic about what you are doing?» The questions are answered on a scale from 0 (never) to 10 (always). The indicator is presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has a low (0-5,0), medium (5,1-8,0) or high (8,1-10) score.
Experience of mastery
The indicator is based on the sum of scores on five questions about mastery: « To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?” (1) «I have little control over the things that happen to me», (2) «There is really no way I can solve some of the problems I have», (3) « There is little I can do to change many of the important things in my life », (4) « What happens to me in the future mostly depends on me », and (5) « I can do just about anything I really set my mind to do». The answers are given on a scale from 1-5, where 1 is "completely disagree" and 5 is "completely agree". Question 1, 2 and 3 are reverse scored, and have to be recalculated so all questions are scored in a way where higher scores equals higher degrees of mastery, before the scores are added up. The sum score can vary between 5 and 25. The indicator is presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has a low (5-14), medium (15-21) or high (22-25) score.
Rewarding social relationships
The question asked is «To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements» and «My social relationships are supportive and rewarding», and is answered on a scale from 0 (completely disagree) to 10 (completely agree). The answers are presented as mean scores and as the percentage that has a low (0-5), medium (6-8) or high (9-10) score.
Preponderance of positive and negative emotions
The question asked is «Please think back to how you have felt during the last 7 days. To what extent were you …» and the respondents are asked to answer for 9 different feelings: (1) «happy», (2) «worried», (3) «down or sad», (4) «annoyed», (5) «engaged», (6) «calm and relaxed», (7) «anxious», (8) «stressed», and (9) «grateful». The questions cover both positive and negative emotions and are answered on a scale from 0 (not at all) to 10 (to a very large degree).
(In the 2020 and 2021 surveys, 'lonely' was included, and 'grateful' was not part of the feelings)
An average is made for the scores for the four positive emotions (happy, engaged, calm and relaxed and grateful), and for the five negative emotions (worried, annoyed, down or sad, anxious and stressed), each of which can vary between 0 and 10. To get a total score of whether people experience a preponderance of negative or positive emotions, the average for the negative emotions is subtracted from the average for the positive emotions. You are then left with a value that can vary between -10 and 10. Negative values indicate that the person has experienced a preponderance of negative emotions. Positive values indicate that the person has experienced a preponderance of positive emotions.
The entire population
When we present figures representing the entire population, we use all the responses in the survey. The entire population here is people aged 18 and over, not residing in an institution.
Respondent's sex, as registered in the population register.
The respondent's age at the beginning of the year in which the survey was conducted. This variable is divided into the following age groups: 18-24 years, 25-44 years, 45-66 years, 67-79 years, 80 years and over.
Based on information on highest completed education from the National Education Database, education level is grouped as follows:
- Basic school level
- Upper secondary level (incl. also extension to upper secondary school)
- Higher education, short
- Higher education, long (includes research education)
- No or unspecified education (includes no education or at pre-school level, and unspecified education).
The status of highest completed education applies to two years before the statistical year. This means that people who have completed their education in the year before the statistical year have not updated their education level.
Income information comes from administrative register, with status from two years before the statistical year. We group the respondents by income group (quartiles). The groups are based on the household's total income after tax, and the number of people in the household (consumption unit) is taken into account.
- First quartile: lowest 25 percent of the income distribution
- Second quartile: second lowest 25 percent of the income distribution
- Third quartile: second highest 25 percent of the income distribution
- Fourth quartile: highest 25 percent of the income distribution
Based on the person's answers to questions about their own perception of the most important activity at the time of the answer. Economic status is grouped as follows:
- In retirement
- Disabled or unable to work
- Student or pupil (including compulsory military service)
- Other (incl. Fulfilling domestic tasks and care responsibilities)
Based on the respondent's answers to questions about who you live with and whether you have a boyfriend or not. Cohabitation is divided into the following groups:
- Single, not living with children, in total
- Not in a relationship
- In a relationship, not cohabiting
- Single parent, total
- Single parent, not in a relationship
- Single parent, in a relationship
- Cohabiting/married, not living with children
- Cohabiting/married, living with children
Tables with cohabitating arrangements are published from year 2022.
Based on information on immigration category from the population register. Only people who have immigrated themselves are included. Norwegian-born with immigrant parents are not included in the group with an immigrant background. Immigrants are further grouped by country of birth, with the following division:
- Immigrants, total
- Immigrants from EU28/EEA, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
- Immigrants from Asia, Africa, Latin-America, Oceania except Australia and New Zealand and Eastern Europe outside EU28/EEA/Switzerland
- Other population
Long-term health problems
People who state that they have health problems or illnesses that have lasted or are expected to last for at least 6 months, and where this creates limitations in carrying out everyday activities.
Symptoms of psychological distress
People who have had symptoms of psychological problems (anxiety and depression) in the last 14 days are defined based on answers on the HSCL-5 (Hopkins Symptom Check List), which includes 5 questions about the extent to which one has been troubled of the following last 14 days:
- nervousness or inner turmoil
- fear or anxiety
- feeling of hopelessness regarding the future
- depression or melancholy
- very worried or restless
Answers are given on the scale 'Not bothered' (1), 'Slightly bothered' (2), 'Fairly bothered' (3) and 'Very much bothered' (4). An average score is made of the scores on the five questions. A score of more than 2.0 is defined as the threshold for symptoms of psychological distress (anxiety and depression-like problems).
Based on people's self-report of their sexual orientation, divided into three groups: heterosexual, non-heterosexual and don't know/don't want to answer. Non-heterosexuals are people who did not choose heterosexual, but either gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, asexual, fluid or other sexual orientation, when asked which category describes you.
Because the response categories were somewhat changed in the 2022 survey, distributions by sexual orientation are published from this year.
Follows the standard for county division, see ‘standars classifications’.
An index which distributes municipalities based on proximity to workplaces and service functions, without the use of urban areas in the classification. The distribution of centrality follows the standard for centrality, which categorises all municipalities from 1 (most central) to 6 (least central). For a complete list of which municipalities belong to which centrality category, see 'standard classifications'.
Quality of life
Division for income and living conditions statistics
National, county and level of centrality
The national survey of Quality of life is carried out annually.
Data files with results from the interviews and statistical files with coded variables, linked information and weights are stored. Anonymized files are also available for researchers through the NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data.
The purpose of the national survey on Quality of Life is to measure the quality of life in the population and to follow the development over time, as well as to shed light on differences in quality of life between different groups.
The quality of life survey was conducted for the first time by Statistics Norway in 2020. The results were published as reports in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, Quality of Life was created as a separate statistic, with the results published as tables in the StatBank.
The quality of life survey is externally funded. The surveys 2020-2023 have been funded by the Norwegian Directorate of Health. In 2020 an increase in the sample size was funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs.
The most important users are ministries, directorates and research environments in the areas of quality of life, health and living conditions.
In addition to this, the statistics serve as a basis for information to the media and the general public.
Difference between the Quality of Life Survey and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s county health surveys (Fylkeshelseundersøkelsene)
Questions about subjective well-being are also included in the county health surveys (Fylkeshelseundersøkelsene) of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, which also presents results for counties. The results based on Statistics Norway’s Quality of Life Survey differ from the results based on the county health surveys. The results from Statistics Norway are somewhat more negative than the corresponding results based on the county health surveys. There can be several causes for this, for example are the results presented by Statistics Norway weighted to adjust for bias in non-response related to sex, age, education level, income, family size and immigrant background. See ‘Collection of data, editing and estimations’ for more information about the weight. The data from the county health surveys is not weighted to adjust for bias in non-response. There is also possible that the questions are interpreted differently in the different surveys, due to the surveys’ different contexts and the other questions in the surveys.
The statistics are developed, produced and disseminated pursuant to Act no. 32 of 21 June 2019 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway (the Statistics Act).
The statistic on Quality of life is included in the national program for official statistics, under the main area “Social conditions, welfare and crime”, and the sub-area “Living conditions”.
The population is residents aged 18 and over who do not live in an institution.
The statistics are based on the Quality of Life Survey of Statistics Norway. The Quality of life survey is an annual, representative sample survey conducted by Statistics Norway. The interview data is collected through a web form. Persons answer questions about subjective well-being and living conditions. The gross sample for the Quality of Life Survey consists of 40,000 people. The sample is drawn according to procedures for random selection.
Various register information from the population register, education registers, income registers, social security and benefits from NAV and information about work, occupation and salary from “A-ordningen” are linked to the Quality of Life Survey.
The register information linked to the survey is documented in the survey’s documentation, see ‘Relevant documentation’ (in Norwegian only).
Data is collected through a self-administered web form. People who have been selected to participate in the survey receive a web link and login information to the web form via Altinn (an internet portal for digital dialogue between businesses, private individuals and public agencies). Data collection normally takes place in March of the year of the survey.Various register information from the population register, education registers, income registers, social security and benefits from NAV and information about work, occupation and salary from “A-ordningen” are linked to the Quality of Life Survey. The register information linked to the survey is documented in the survey’s documentation note, see ‘Relevant documentation’ (in Norwegian only).
Editing is defined here as checking, examining and amending data.
Quality control of data
There are a number of built-in controls in the web form, which ask for answers to all questions and which have restrictions on which values are accepted or not in open answer fields. After the data is available, more detailed checks are made to ensure good data quality.
Inclusion/exclusion of responses
The Quality of Life statistics include all complete responses to the survey, as well as everyone who has answered all central quality of life questions, but who may have dropped out before the very last questions in the survey.
The gross sample is drawn so that it reflects the population, but beacuase non-response is unequal across groups, the net sample is not representative. This bias varies across characteristics and variables. To adjust for bias in the net sample compared to the population, we use weights. The weights let answers from individuals with underrepresented characteristics count more, while answers from individuals with characteristics that are overrepresented count less. The weight thus adjusts for bias compared to the population the statistics are supposed to cover. The figures are calibrated against register information on sex, age, immigration background, income, education and family size. The weight is calibrated against the entire population. The results that are published should therefore be representative of the entire population.
Interviewers and everyone who works at Statistics Norway have a duty of confidentiality. Statistics Norway has its own data protection officer.
Statistics Norway does not publish figures where there is a risk of identifying individual data about persons or households.
More information can be found on Statistics Norway’s website under Methods in official statistics, in the ‘Confidentiality’ section.
The Quality of life statistics mainly have figures from the year 2020. Due to changes to certain questions, some indicators have time series that start later. See information on individual variables/groups under Definitions.
The sample for the Quality of Life Survey is drawn to be representative of the Norwegian population aged 18 and over and consists of approximately 40,000 people each year.
Not all people who are in the sample participate in the survey. Those who do not participate represent a dropout from the selection. If the dropout rate is not the same in all groups, it will create a skewed sample that is no longer fully representative of the population being investigated. How skewed a sample is will vary with which variable you are looking at.
To correct for the fact that the dropout may create a skewed selection, the figures in the tables are weighted. The reference for the weighting is the surveys population (residents aged 18 years or older, who do not live in an institution). The following characteristics are included in the weighting: Gender, age, education, income, family size and immigration background.
For more information on bias due to dropouts and weighting, see the survey’s documentation note, under ‘Relevant documentation’ (in Norwegian only).
The uncertainty of findings based on a sample from the population is often called sampling variance. The standard deviation is a measure of this uncertainty. The size of the standard deviation depends, among other factors, on the number of observations in the sample, and on the distribution of the current variable in the whole population.
Statistic Norway has not made exact calculations to compute standard deviation for the findings. However, in table 1, the approximate size of standard deviation is given for observed percentages.
To illustrate the uncertainty associated with a percentage, we can use an interval to give the level of the true value of an estimated quantity (the value obtained if making observation on the whole population instead of observation based on a part of the population). Such intervals are called confidence intervals if constructed in a special way. In this connection one can use the following method: let M be the estimated quantity, and S the estimate of standard deviation of M. The confidence interval will be an interval with limits (M - 2*S) and (M + 2*S). This method will give, with approximately 95 per cent probability, an interval containing the true value.
In Norwegian only: Dokumentasjonsnotat for Livskvalitetsundersøkelsen 2023
In Norwegian only: Dokumentasjonsnotat for Livskvalitetsundersøkelsen 2022
In Norwegian only: Dokumentasjonsnotat for Livskvalitetsundersøkelsen 2021
In Norwegian only: Dokumentasjonsnotat for Livskvalitetsundersøkelsen 2020