Construction and analysis of a composite quality of life index for a region of South Africa
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This study quantifies and analyses quality of life in the Gauteng City-Region of South Africa. First we adapt and extend a method used in research on market regulations to construct composite indices to the field of quality of life. In the adapted method we employ categorical principal components analysis suitable for the analysis of categorical data typically used in quality of life research. The newly constructed index is a comprehensive quality of life index, which includes objective and subjective as well as economic and non-economic indicators. This is the first composite index of its kind in South Africa. Second, this index is used to compare the quality of life of different demographic and socio-economic groups in the region. The quality of life scores of Africans, low income, female, older and urban informal dwellers are relatively low. Third, the explained variance of the dimensions of quality of life is compared across groups. The dimensions housing and infrastructure and social relationships explained the most variance for groups with lower and higher quality of life scores respectively. The results shed light on quality of life in this region, including the great unevenness of well-being. The study provides a basis for the measurement and analysis of quality of life in other regions and countries.