Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



Over the past decade, increasing effort has been made to develop both national and global indices of well-being. Much like earlier sustainability indices directed at questions of economics and environment, well-being metrics seek to chart the quality of life of citizens in order to (1) support administrative decision making and policy formation, (2) encourage consensus building and public participation in defining what’s important, (3) educate and advocate, and (4) facilitate research through data collection and analysis. This paper explores a number of indices of well-being, including the Canadian Index of Well-being, the OECD Your Better Life Index, and the Happy Planet Index, to discuss (1) comparative differences and similarities across the indices, (2) how the indices are used currently, and (3) the importance of understanding judgments of well-being based on notions of place.