Living conditions and quality of life
26 January 2023
Living conditions and quality of life is one of the six main activities in Eurofound’s work programme for the 2021–2024 period.Read more
Living conditions and quality of life is one of the six main activities in Eurofound’s work programme for the 2021–2024 period. Eurofound will continue to map and analyse key aspects related to the improvement of living conditions of people in Europe, including information on their perception of quality of life and society. As the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis has deeply affected people’s lives, Eurofound will further investigate the impact of this crisis on EU citizens at different life stages.
During 2021–2024, Eurofound’s research will provide an important insight into the challenges and prospects in the area of living conditions and quality of life in the EU and the role played by various initiatives aimed at alleviating the social hardship of various groups of citizens. Of particular interest are the implications for older people and care needs, youth and their social inclusion and social mobility, and the varying consequences of the crisis on men and women.
Public services across the EU played a major role in addressing the COVID-19 crisis while facing significant challenges and they will be assessed in greater detail, focusing on issues such as quality, access and affordability. As previous findings have shown, the crisis has had disproportionate effects on certain groups according to age, care responsibilities and work-life balance, and Eurofound will analyse this further.
In coordination with the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), Eurofound intends to research the multidimensional gender gap by investigating the impact on men and women of the COVID-19 crisis in terms of employment participation, material living conditions and well-being – in order to identify the differences and assess its effect on gender gaps.
- Infographic: Living conditions and quality of life in the EU
Addressing stakeholder prioritiesTop
Eurofound’s research aims to assist policy action addressing the challenges and opportunities for the EU and national levels in the area of living conditions and quality of life.Read more
Eurofound’s research aims to assist policy action addressing the challenges and opportunities for the EU and national levels in the area of living conditions and quality of life. In particular, it will monitor the impact of COVID-19 and the ensuing economic crisis by providing knowledge on status, trends, risks, as well as ways to improve living conditions in the EU. Eurofound will focus on identifying and analysing pressing issues for the most vulnerable groups, specifically older citizens and young people. Eurofound will also inform policymakers by producing evidence on trends and drivers in relation to the delivery of public services, also linking in, for example, with the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The Agency’s work plan is aligned with the European Commission’s political guidelines over the next four years, directly feeding into a number of key policy areas aimed at creating a strong social Europe. In particular, the research will support policy initiatives and activities linked with the implementation of the European Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 , the Youth Guarantee , the Child Guarantee and the European Semester and its country-specific recommendations.
- European Commission: Priorities 2019–2024: An economy that works for people
- European Commission: Priorities 2019-2024: Promoting our European way of life
- European Commission: Priorities 2019–2024: A new push for European democracy
Blogs on this topic
Key policy messagesTop
- The perception of tensions in society has the most detrimental impact on trust in institutions, while perceived quality of public services is a key driver for higher trust in institutions.
- More long-term care provision – with greater flexibility – is needed. Home care and assistance should be made more available, especially in those EU Member States where income is lowest.
- Prompt access to primary healthcare, social care and long-term care can trigger early intervention and monitoring of changing needs and prevent the escalation of long-term care problems.
- Mental health issues are increasing for young people, though it is not clear whether this is due to higher incidence or better awareness and diagnosis. Mental health is closely related to other youth issues and can both be an outcome of inequalities and a source of inequality itself. Risk factors for mental health issues include disability and long-term illness, family problems, relationship problems with peers and heavy social media use.
- Although levels of trust and social cohesion recovered overall in the EU since the financial crisis, the onset of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on well-being in countries hardest hit by the pandemic.
- Young people are emerging as one of lockdown’s biggest losers: along with those out of work, young people report the lowest levels of well-being, despite some improvement since the onset of the pandemic. While life satisfaction and optimism increased since April 2020, young people continue to feel excluded from society and remain at greatest risk of depression, showing that restrictions during lockdown affect them more.
- Measures to mitigate the mental health risks of the unemployed and young people in the wake of COVID-19 will be critical in any further waves of the Coronavirus. Providing targeted support to allow those seeking work to get back on track and cope with the impact of the pandemic, as well as ensuring that young people can fully participate in society, must be part of ongoing policy measures.
- The COVID-19 crisis has eroded levels of optimism and affected the work–life balance of women more than men. Repairing this damage will be critical to ensure women do not pay disproportionately for the pandemic.
- Maintaining citizens’ trust in national and European institutions must remain a key focus in times of crisis, as compliance with measures to control COVID-19 greatly depends on levels of trust in institutions and scientific advice. The increase in levels of institutional trust reported by respondents who benefited from support measures also sends a clear message to national governments and the EU.
Current and ongoing researchTop
In 2022, work in this area will focus on measuring the impact of COVID-19 on living conditions. Building on the previous rounds of the Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey in 2020 and 2021, further analysis is planned for 2022.Read more
In 2022, work in this area will focus on measuring the impact of COVID-19 on living conditions. Building on the previous rounds of the Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey in 2020 and 2021, further analysis is planned for 2022.
Eurofound will finalise its ongoing research on the impact of COVID-19 on older people and on men and women. Work on investigating the gender divide will be coordinated with the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). In addition, analysis of the adaptation of public services in service delivery during the pandemic will be finalised.
Building on previous work, Eurofound will investigate intergenerational dynamics over time, focusing on how the pandemic may have affected differently the health situation, labour market participation, quality of life and financial needs of different age groups, both in the short and long term. Complementing this will be an analysis of policy measures put in place at EU and national levels to alleviate the economic and social impact of the crisis among different age groups.
Eurofound will explore the link between income and housing costs among the different population groups. This work involves an analysis of the social consequences of housing affordability and the impact of non-adequate housing on living conditions, drawing on data from Eurofound’s e-survey as well as other data sources. Eurofound will examine housing policies in the context of COVID-19, looking at freezes on rental and mortgage payments and evictions, as well as initiatives to provide affordable and adequate housing for groups acutely impacted by the burden of housing costs.
The sections below provide access to a range of publications, data and ongoing work on this topic.Read less
- Publications (666)
- Ongoing work (5)
Eurofound publications come in a variety of formats, including reports, policy briefs, blogs, articles and presentations.
The cost-of-living crisis and energy poverty in the EU: Social impact and policy responses - Background paperPublication 28 October 2022
Watch the webinar - #EurofoundLive: Building a stronger Europe - Making the European Care Strategy workEvent 27 October 2022
Related data on this topic are linked below.
Research continues in this topic on a variety of themes, which are outlined below with links to forthcoming titles.