what is standard of living

What is 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 standard of living.

What is Standard of Living?

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

According to United nations development program, 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 health life


c) A decent standard of living.

Health dimension includes life expectancy of birth, the education dimension is measured by 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 70’s, 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 to that of Kohapur. In fact Kolhapur is one of the least expensive state to live in the world. 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 monthly salary, again it is 1.9% higher than Kolhapur. As and when the neighbor’s husbands’ salary would increase, she would be able to manage household in a better manner. This would lead to a better standard of living for her.





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