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standard of living

Level of material comfort that an individual or group aspires to or may achieve. This includes not only privately purchased goods and services but collectively consumed goods and services such as those provided by public utilities and governments. A standard of living determined for a group such as a country must be examined critically in terms of its constituent values. If the mean value increases over time, but at the same time the rich become richer and the poor poorer, the group may not be collectively better off. Various quantitative indicators can be used as measuring rods, including life expectancy, access to nutritious food and a safe water supply, and availability of medical care.

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Monetary cost of maintaining a particular standard of living, usually measured by calculating the average cost of a number of goods and services. Measurement of the cost of a minimum standard of living is essential in determining relief payments, social-insurance benefits, and minimum wages. The cost of living is customarily measured by a price index such as the consumer price index. Measurements of change in the cost of living are important in wage negotiations. Cost-of-living measurements are also used to compare the cost of maintaining similar living standards in different areas. Seealso social insurance.

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Living may refer to:

  • Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms
  • Personal life, the course of an individual human's life
  • Living wage, refers to the minimum hourly wage necessary for a person to achieve some specific standard of living
  • Living, in canon law, a position in a church (usually the Church of England) that has attached to it a source of income. The holder of the position receives its revenue for the performance of stipulated duties.

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