Manuel de Maya Matallana, Prudencio J. Riquelme Perea, María López Martínez


Este trabajo mide la calidad de vida de las regiones españolas a través de un conjunto de dimensiones, tanto objetivas como subjetivas, reflejadas en nueve indicadores parciales: condiciones materiales, trabajo, salud, educación, ocio, seguridad, medio ambiente, gobernanza y bienestar subjetivo. Se aplica una metodología basada en el indicador de distancia DP2, habitual en trabajos relacionados con el bienestar y la felicidad. Adicionalmente, se calculan los índices de sostenibilidad débil y fuerte teniendo en cuenta todas las dimensiones utilizadas. Según los resultados obtenidos, ninguna región alcanza la sostenibilidad fuerte, mientras que todas son sostenibles débilmente, excepto Andalucía.


The objective of this work is to analyze the quality of life through different areas of well-being. As a novelty, the dimensions are divided into different components, which in turn can be objective or subjective. Specifically, nine dimensions are considered: material conditions, work, health, education, leisure, security, governance, environment and, finally, life experience. A development model is presented that tries to achieve a balance between the different dimensions, focused on human capacities for self-realization. In the last half century, the concepts of economic growth, development and well-being have been differentiated, given the realization that growth can have harmful effects on the environment and, also, due to the need to incorporate other variables related to the quality of work, health, confidence or job security. Thus, economic magnitudes are a necessary condition for well-being, but there are other determinants. The notion of development does not only depend on the optimal combination of production factors, but also on an adequate use of wasted skills and resources. Therefore, raising income or other material provisions does not always guarantee greater happiness if other variables and dimensions are ignored. Thirty-eight objective variables (grouped in turn into fifteen subdimensions and eight dimensions) and seventeen subjective variables (thirteen subdimensions and eight dimensions) have been used. The indicators are those corresponding to the INE's Quality of Life Indicators, following the same methodology as other European countries. Objective measures (unemployment rate, life expectancy) and subjective measures (satisfaction in relation to different aspects or on their self-perceived state of health) are included. These variables refer to a specific space-time framework: the Spanish regions and, in general, during the year 2019. In this work, a differentiation has been made between three ways of defining quality of life. The first refers to living conditions, reflected in a series of socioeconomic indicators (objective well-being). These variables inform us of the needs related to “having”. The second informs us of the satisfaction of the person with respect to each dimension or condition of life, measured by psychological indicators. The values of each person, attitudes, customs, culture and philosophy of each territory, feelings and, ultimately, of "being" or "feeling" (subjective well-being) are incorporated. The third consists of a combination of both forms of well-being (objective and subjective). Consequently, a synthetic indicator of subjective, objective and global well-being is obtained. To prepare the partial indicators and, based on them, a synthetic one of well-being, the DP2 distance method developed by Pena Trapero is used, which has been widely used to measure social well-being. Additionally, the weak and strong sustainability levels are calculated following three main phases (obtaining the reference levels (reserve and aspiration), achievement levels and calculation of the sustainability indices through the weak and strong weights that are associated to each indicator). It is concluded that Spain is a territory made up of various socioeconomic realities, reflected in the different levels of quality of life achieved in each territory. In general, we can say that there are several geographical patterns, being in general the northern and Mediterranean regions, except Murcia and Andalusia, those that achieve the highest levels of well-being, while the south and the Canary Islands tend to be the least developed. Thus, Cantabria, La Rioja, Navarre, Aragon are those that achieve the highest levels of well-being (they are also those with the highest objective well-being). In an intermediate group are Aragon, Balearic Islands (due to their leadership in subjective well-being), Valencia, Madrid, Catalonia and Castile and Leon (low positions due to their low level of subjective well-being). In a third group, we include three regions from the north and two from the south (Extremadura, Basque Country, Asturias, Galicia (last in subjective well-being) and Castilla-La Mancha). The communities of the Canary Islands, Murcia and Andalusia would be found in the group with the lowest well-being, the latter being the only one that is unsustainable from the weak point of view. The most effective policies to increase the well-being of Spanish society involve an adequate housing policy, which reduces the high expenditure that families must assume for their enjoyment, together with an improvement in the consumption patterns of families, improving their financial education to lead a healthy family economy. In this sense, it would be convenient to promote the habitability of rural areas and of what is commonly known as “empty Spain”, prioritizing the repopulation of inland areas. Another relevant measure would be the reduction of poverty, even above the increase in income or the decrease in inequality. In this sense, the important thing for a society is to ensure that the basic needs of all citizens are satisfied, based on a development model that prioritizes the needs that allow people to self-realisation in the workplace and in the emotional or family environment. To improve the rest of the dimensions, special emphasis should be placed on improving social relations, with a more familiar socioeconomic model, reducing long-term unemployment rates through improved education, especially in continuous training processes and reduction of educational dropouts. A review of the educational system is needed, with greater emphasis on comprehensive, scientific-humanistic training that encourages entrepreneurial attitudes to avoid preferentially selective teaching. In the health field, an improvement in health outcomes, especially reducing people with severe limitations in daily activity. Regarding the environmental dimension, the results indicate that economic growth worsens this indicator, exclusively using objective variables, which is why it is necessary to accelerate the ecological transition of the Spanish economy. Economic growth improves levels of well-being, both objective and subjective, although it worsens levels of security, governance and the environment. It also has a positive impact on sustainability, especially the weak one. Consequently, the policy to follow would not be to reduce economic growth, since it would decrease well-being, but rather to improve its quality so that it is more correlated with the different dimensions of well-being, especially those mentioned above. All the Spanish regions reach negative values in the Strong Sustainability Index, especially the Canary Islands, Galicia and Andalusia. Only La Rioja is close to sustainability, having to correct the environmental aspect to achieve total sustainability.

© Revista de estudios regionales 2014 Universidades Públicas de Andalucía