what is standard of living

What is the Standard of Living?

Learn about Standard of Living with Bindiya Goswami
Humari Bahu Alka 1982

Case Breakdown: Movie Humari Bahu Alka

The scene that you just saw shows how Alka (played by Bindiya Goswami) is being interrogated by her neighbor on why she has moved to Bombay. Neighbor isn’t too happy herself, who had to have moved to Bombay as she was quite happy at Kolhapur. There she could save Rs. 10-15 while in Bombay she can’t even save a penny.

In this blog, Learning Perspectives will explore the meaning of the standard of living.

What is the Standard of Living?

The Standard of living is the number of goods and services available to a population. Standard of living is generally higher in developed nations compared to developing nations. The same holds true for all nations. It is measured through life expectancy, Gross domestic product (GDP), income, and economic opportunity.

According to the United Nations development program, the human development index (HDI) was developed to measure the standard of living. The HDI was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.

Below, is the HDI summary given in the form of a diagram. This is based on 3 dimensions of

a) long and healthy life

b)Knowledge

c) A decent standard of living.

The health dimension includes life expectancy of birth, the education dimension is measured by the mean of years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and more and expected years of schooling for children of school entering age. The standard of living dimension is measured by gross national income per capita.

As the neighbor discusses her situation of shifting to Mumbai has been difficult for her, as she isn’t able to save a penny. This movie came out in the ’70s, it was true then but this situation holds good today as well.

If you see the above figure, we can clearly see that the cost of living in Mumbai is double that of Kolhapur. In fact, Kolhapur is one of the least expensive states to live in in the world. The cost of living for one person in Mumbai is $693 i.e. around Rs. 50,000. The cost of living is calculated based on prices for rent, food, transport, and other living expenses for each city, which form a consumer basket assuming a moderate lifestyle and average consumption.

If you notice carefully, the last row indicates the monthly salary, again it is 1.9% higher than Kolhapur. As and when the neighbor’s husband’s salary would increase, she would be able to manage the household in a better manner. This would lead to a better standard of living for her.

References:

http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/human-development-index-hdi

https://livingcost.org/cost

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