The well-being or quality of life of a population is an important concern in economics and political science. It is measured by many social and economic factors. A large part is standard of living, the amount of money and access to goods and services that a person has; these numbers are fairly easily measured. Others like freedom, happiness, art, environmental health, and innovation are far harder to measure. This has created an inevitable imbalance as programs and policies are created to fit the easily available economic numbers while ignoring the other measures, that are very difficult to plan for or assess.

Debate on quality of life is millennia-old, with Aristotle giving it much thought in his Nicomachean Ethics and eventually settling on the notion of eudaimonia, a Greek term often translated as happiness, as central. The neologism liveability (or livability), from the adjective liv(e)able, is an abstract noun now often applied to the built environment or a town or city, meaning its contribution to the quality of life of inhabitants.

Understanding quality of life is today particularly important in health care, where monetary measures do not readily apply. Decisions on what research or treatments to invest the most in are closely related to their effect on a patient's quality of life.

Organisational wellbeing looks at related factors from a corporate perspective, although this agenda is also informed by the employers' duty-of-care and external drivers such as the UK Health and Safety Executive's Management Standards for Stress (http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm). Organisational wellbeing looks at wellbeing issues that affect a company's staff and manages them to drive change and improve performance.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Purpose of Life. The Official Guide to Purpose of Life is Lynn Scheurell. Lynn is an authority on getting dramatic results quickly through intentional innovation, understanding natural rhythms and being personally accountable for the experience created. Primarily working with entrepreneurs, small business owners and budding global revolutionaries who want to enjoy personal success by their own definition and to change the world through conscious connections, she has helped people break their inertia to step into their true purpose through clarity and focused action.

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