Editor in Chief: Dr. Hussain Yasa Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Indicators of our Living Standards

Towns and cities all over Afghanistan have many dissimilarities in the standards of living and quality of life. These dissimilarities can be associated to many factors and issues about the residents and location. Though every town is unique in its own way, a pattern in the variation of standards of living can be observed. For many cases as the distance from the city center is increased, the quality of living standards also increases. This variation in the living conditions can be linked to the residents in the area. Looking at the economic, social, and environmental criteria, it is clear to see why people are living in the conditions that they do. 

Looking at the economic aspects of residents in an area can depict many things like their profession. One of the best indicators to look at is the unemployment levels in an area. This would basically involve collecting the unemployment figures. Generally, it is a very good way to measure the living standards of an area, as it shows the percentage of people who are out of work. The higher percentage means that many residents are bringing little money into the home, and therefore might not have enough to just live off. Therefore they cannot afford many luxuries and comforts, and also these people may be content. This shows that they do not have a very high living standard. Currently, this figure is very high in Afghanistan as the public and private sectors are not able to create job opportunities for the people and most of them are unemployed and may participate in the activities that are not positive for the society as a whole.

Many other statistics can be included in the category of money, and how much is brought into the home. The annual earnings, for example, number of doctors per one thousand people, and percentage of people who work in professional jobs or managerial jobs are all good indicators to the living conditions of an area. Basically the more money people bring into the home shows their attitude to life, they want to do well and succeed. It is these types of people who have the higher living standards because of the jobs they do and the money that they earn.

Criteria that can be studied to look at the social aspects of living improvements include things like crime rates and social status. Crime rates are a very good indicator towards measuring the living standards. With higher crime rates in an area shows that the quality of living is reduced because of the people who are there do not abide with the law. It also shows the incapacity of the law and order system to provide facilities to the people. Afghanistan has not been able to focus much in this regard and even the capital Kabul has become a place where the crime rate is getting out of control.  

Private amenities are very good indicators towards the living standard. Homes with many private amenities show they do not have to share things like bathrooms, and can live in comfort with central heating. On the other hand, if people are without basic amenities like hot water and have to share bathrooms with other tenants, then this is because they cannot afford to do anything about it. These people do have a low living standard as they are without amenities that are basic to most homes. The current wrath of cold weather clearly disclosed the nature of the private amenities that are possessed by the people of Afghanistan. There are many people in the country who do not have any sort of arrangement for heating in the cold weather. Moreover, the unavailability of proper bathrooms is another issue that the people of Afghanistan has been facing. In many remote districts there are not bathrooms even to share; what the people share in common is the open ground.

The environmental aspects of an area that people live in area very good indicators to the living standards that they have. Pollution is something that no one wants to have much of around where they live. Therefore, this is an excellent judge of an area. The higher amounts of pollution in an area can be because of many factors, like living next a factories or major roads. Therefore, the lower levels of pollution in an area means that the area is probably an excellent place to live. However, in Afghanistan most of the villages and towns are free from such polluting factors. The only city that seems to be highly influenced by pollution is the capital Kabul itself. Higher levels of pollution in Kabul clearly shows that it is now becoming a city that is not very pleasant to live in.

It is not very difficult to identify the indicators of the living standard of the people in the country. The difficult task is to take these indicators seriously and make efforts to improve the living standard of the people. It is one of the main responsibilities of a democratic system that it must work for improving the lives of the people. So, if Afghanistan claims to be a democratic state it must work in this regard or at least strive to work.