By Darryl Budge
Can quality of life be measured by digits?
For the past two years a UN Human Development Index has ranked my home country Australia the second best in the world for its quality of life— though it did not address values like happiness, safety, or peace.
Based on a life expectancy of 82.5 years, a mean of 13 years of schooling, and gross national income of $58,618 per person, Australia sits between Norway and Switzerland, the identical trifecta of nations that topped the 2014 UN report.
Norway is marginally lower in the first two measures but per-person income is above AU$90,000. On the HDI rank of 188 countries the UK is at 14, while The Democratic Republic of Congo is down at 176, with $680 income per capita.
But perhaps this is not the best measure of quality of life. There are plenty of people who are wealthy and old but who are very unhappy.
NY-based psychologist and researcher Arthur Aron has studied friendships and romantic attachments, and found the quality of such relationships are the biggest indicator of happiness in life.
Quality relationships may increase quality of life by 50 per cent, according to a meta-analytic review of mortality risk in 2010 by Holt-Lunstad et al.
The researchers noted, "...having a satisfying romantic relationship is important for retaining and increasing future life satisfaction".
This study's results show we are hardwired to form relationships.
God said it all when He first made man: "it is not good for man to be alone."
The major review in 2010 also showed once we establish these quality relationships they form a primary factor in determining the extent of our happiness.
The Bible says God made us for relationship, both with Himself and others.
"None of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone," wrote the apostle Paul in Romans chapter 14, verse 7.
Jesus said the second greatest commandment is "to love your neighbor as yourself".
He taught that the Holy Spirit fills us with His love if we 'abide' in Him by keeping His greatest commandment: to love God with all our being (see John chapters 14-15 and Luke chapter 10, verse 27).?
THE UN HDI REPORT TOP 10: (1) Norway, *(2) Australia, (3) Switzerland, (4) Denmark, (5) Netherlands, (6) Germany, (7) Ireland, (8) United States, (9) Canada and New Zealand tied (NZ down 2 spots), (11) Singapore