Social Indicators Research

, Volume 130, Issue 1, pp 129–145 | Cite as

Bridging the Gap: Overcoming Data Difficulties During 40 Years of Measuring Well-Being in The Netherlands

  • Jeroen BoelhouwerEmail author


For more than 40 years the Netherlands Institute for Social Research|SCP has studied the quality of life of the Dutch population. A characteristic element of that research is the use of time series. However, maintaining a time series over such a long period is not easy. All manner of problems arise, such as indicators no longer being relevant (who still has a black and white television?) or the changing importance that is attached to particular topics (sport is more important today than it was in 1974). The method of data collection can also change. In this article we take the perspective of a specific measurement to look at the changes that have taken place over the last 40 years and how those changes have been accommodated. We do this using the SCP Life Situation Index, which measures the objective quality of life of Dutch citizens. The conclusion is that it is possible to construct a long-term time series, but that it is not always possible to interpret changes from year to year: the perspective has to focus primarily on long-term developments.


Quality of life Long-term developments Happiness Life situation Index construction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Netherlands Institute for Social Research|SCPThe HagueThe Netherlands

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