Social Indicators Research

, Volume 121, Issue 2, pp 345–369 | Cite as

An Analysis of the Relative Importance of Components in Measuring Community Wellbeing: Perspectives of Citizens, Public Officials, and Experts

  • Yunji Kim
  • Youngwha KeeEmail author
  • Seung Jong Lee


Governments are showing a growing interest in community wellbeing and its measurement. While there have been numerous efforts to measure community wellbeing, current measurement systems are limited as they tend to adopt a narrow perspective of community wellbeing factors based on a top-down fashion. The purpose of this study is to empirically test the differences among citizens, public officials, and experts in relative importance of community wellbeing factors. Data were collected through a binary comparison survey that asked respondents to compare the relative importance of community wellbeing factors on a 9 point scale. We used the Analytic Hierarchy Process for analysis and the results show that citizens, public officials, and experts give different priorities to community wellbeing factors. In decreasing order of importance, citizens and public officials both give the highest priority to physical health, household income, and employment while experts chose employment, household income, and physical health. Furthermore, relative importance rankings differed among citizens depending on age, gender, and years of community involvement. These findings indicate that current community wellbeing measurements that fail to acknowledge different weighting schemes may be biased. We suggest the need for a deliberative model of community wellbeing measurement.


Community wellbeing Wellbeing Community indicators Social indicators Measurement weights Bottom up method 



This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2013S1A3A2054622).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of City and Regional PlanningCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Lifelong EducationSoongsil UniversitySeoulKorea
  3. 3.Graduate School of Public AdministrationSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea

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