Hoppa yfir valmynd

Indicators for measuring well-being

In recent years, the Government of Iceland has emphasised increasing prosperity and quality of life of the general public in its strategic planning. In 2019, 39 indicators of prosperity and quality of life, often referred to as well-being indicators, were defined to monitor social, environmental, and economic factors. The decision on the choice of indicators was based, among other things, on a large sample survey conducted by a committee appointed by the Prime Minister. The survey asked the respondents to rank factors related to prosperity and quality of life in order of importance.

For the purpose of measuring well-being the Icelandic government has chosen to use 40 indicators. They are based on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and utilise official statistics. The indicators are partly comparable with well-being indicators from other countries.

Statistics Iceland manages the group of indicators and updates it regularly. 

  • Well-being indicators on Statistic Iceland's website
  • The indicators are divided into three categories and thirteen subcategories:



    • Life expectancy
    • Mental health
    • Unmet need for healthcare


    • Educational level
    • Dropout rate from secondary school
    • Lifelong learning

    Social capital

    • Trust in others
    • Voter turnout
    • Trust in political system
    • Social support
    • Participation in organised leisure activities


    • Vandalism
    • Domestic violence
    • Security in the neighbourhood

    Work-life balance

    • Long working hours
    • Non-traditional working hours
    • Multiple jobs


    Economic conditions

    • Purchasing power
    • Household debt
    • Public sector, private sector and household debt
    • Price level developments (inflation)
    • GDP and economic growth


    • Unemployment
    • Not in education, employment or training (NEET)
    • Participation rate
    • Job satisfaction


    • Quality of housing
    • Housing cost overburden


    • Material deprivation
    • Income inequality (GINI co-efficient)
    • Low income ratio
    • Persistently low income


    Air quality

    • Greenhouse gas emissions
    • Particulate matter

    Land use

    • Progress in land reclamation
    • Nature conservation areas


    • Renewable energy

    Waste and recycling

    • Recycling rate of solid waste
    • Quantity of household waste



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