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National wealth measured through the gross domestic product has been for a long time the main indicator of measuring the evolution of well-being. However, critics increasingly emphasize the temptation inherent to this approach to reduce multiple dimensions of quality of life within a unique monetary indicator. On the basis of data from the barometric survey “Living Conditions and Aspirations”, which is led since 35 years by the CRÉDOC in France, this paper aims to paint a picture of the evolution of the different dimensions of well-being of the French population. After exposing the interest of the survey, the methodological principles that have been used, their advantages and limits, we aim to show that improving material living conditions, a rising level of qualifications and a more widespread access to leisure time activities since the last thirty years, did not hinder the sedimentation of a feeling of social and economic insecurity, the proliferation of a certain malaise and the dissemination of inequalities in lifestyle and living conditions. Altogether these elements explain a growing distortion between the GDP and the composite index of well-being.


  • aspirations
  • France
  • GDP
  • inequalities
  • living conditions
  • quality of life
  • well-being
Régis Bigot
Sandra Hoibian
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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