What extent a GDP per head is the best measure of standards of living

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Last updated: April 21, 2019

GDP per head could be good for measuring the standards of living but to a certain extent, for example if the GDP per head is counted across London or some other large capital city then take the average then it is obvious that it is going to be a number that is not going to be telling the complete truth and probably lowering the standards of living for many parts of that city, so I think that for the first thing is that you actually have to measure the GDP per head either by different boroughs or it might work where most of the people have a fairly the same income because then expenditure of money and consumption of goods would be fairly the same and therefore you would probably be able to say rightfully that the standards of living are fairly similar, the main problem of counting GDP per head is that you don’t actually know all the details about everyone and you don’t even ask everyone so that you only get an inaccurate answer from a survey that is made by two or three families in a part of town where it most probably has around two to three hundred people.Another fault is that if the survey is done across the whole town then the poorest areas would have a very low GDP per head, which would be bringing down the average and as in most towns there are more low paid people than there are extremely rich people. This way is limited due to the fact that you have to know how much money is spent on consumption of goods and it is moderately hard to keep track of everything that you buy and how much money you spend on things.There are limitations like non-market output like subsistence farming, the shadow economy like the black market in a country, data collection could be limited because of internet sales and awkward exchange rates which could interfere. There are different ways of measuring the standards of living of the people and that could be in a similar way to getting the GDP per head but this one takes only one factor of the GDP and that’s income.

You could measure the standards of living by incomes and that would be fairly useful and that is because when you know incomes of different groups you can work out the standard a person lives in by seeing how much his property costs and compare it to the income that they are earning from which you can get a rough estimate of their living standard.As for the GDP this could be a limited way of finding out the standards of living because you might not be able to find out how much someone is earning if they are economically inactive therefore they could have a house which costs millions but they are living on money which was left to them by inheritance. Therefore you can see that if I try to use different methods to work out the standards of living it is still practically the same way as working out GDP per head and therefore you can say that it is the best way of working out the standards of living but to an extent, and this I mean by the fact that it is virtually impossible to work out all the costs of living. I think that working out the income for an average person is easier than their consumption, because it is very hard to keep track of everything that you buy.

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