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The applicability and definitions of Quality of Life (QOL) varies depending on concept and its operation. This brings out that QOL is not only complex but also multifaceted. However, it is easy to confuse the term Quality of Life with the standard of living (SOL). While SOL leans towards income and status of employment, QOL, on the other hand, includes component of SOL and as well as the physical environment, mental, social and spiritual aspects of these dwellers (Shucksmith, Cameron, Merridew & Pichler, 2009). Another study by Mansor, Zakaria, and Daud (2013) established that school, income, communication, mode of transport and health including safety and personal security are the basic building blocks. While the quality varies across rural and urban dwellers for some reasons, one thing that needs to come out is between the city and rural dwellers who have enjoys their life better. This essay argues that despite city dwellers being able to access superior facilities in comparison to their rural counterparts, rural folks enjoy an enhanced kind of quality life.
Components of QOL
QoL determines general wellbeing whether be it city dwellers or the rural folk and which of the two regions allows their residents enjoy and access improved QoL. Shucksmith et al. (2009) affirm that there is little or no significance concerning the QoL between the two categories across rich European Union countries. Nevertheless, the reverse was true across developing countries where rural dwellers had a lower quality of life. Tavares, Arduini, Martins, Dias, & Ferreira, (2015) holds a contrary opinion where they argue that the elderly urban residents had and enjoyed less quality of life in comparison to the rural folk who enjoyed stronger psychosocial relationships and support. Haghi, Hakimi, Mirghafourvand, Mohammad-Alizadeh, & Charandabi, (2017) found out that the physical aspects, overall health, and well-being, as well as liveliness and vitality, had a significant difference between the city dwellers and rural folks. Further Haghi et al. (2017) established that the difference might be insignificant and within acceptable levels as well as within the various parameters.
Therefore while no single study has established the same results as another, it clearly indicates that there are no universal components that are similar in the city or in the village. Secondly, there is a lack concerning universally accepted definition as to what constitutes quality of life; this is as a result of the various study using different parameters to measure the components. In many instances, you will hear people argue that upon retirement folk should retire to upcountry and rural areas which are less stressful as compared to the busy city life. This statement sounds like a cliché and lacks any proof to support such assertions.
While there have been many studies looking into the quality of life, they all used different and varying parameters to come up to their respective conclusions. Some of the parameters already used include setup, communication, health, and transport and income disparity (Mansor et al., 2013), number of children, satisfaction with children’s conduct, income, occupation, and postmenopausal symptoms was studied by (Haghi, Hakimi, Mirghafourvand, Charandabi, Farahbakhsh , 2017). Therefore the following are some of the measures of quality of life; wealth which includes (home, work), ability to access the high-end market of product and services, environment and natural resources, accessibility and affordability of health care services, education and learning facilities, psychosocial support, and social security.
Thus it would be of much interest to note that quality of life can be clustered into eight broad categories i) Health and medical related, ii) Material possession and wealth, iii) Mental and psychological, iv) work-life balance, v) family and heritage, vi) social setup and security vii) Leisure and recreational and viii) Physical environment QOL (Ruževičius, 2007). The World Health Organization (WHO) has outlined and defined what constitutes quality of life. Therefore QOL is the discernment by a person as to how they are satisfied with their condition of living which is based on their view of upbringing, culture and background and their social values while taking into consideration the expected outcomes, baseline standard and the desired results of a person or place of living
Quality of Life; City vs. Rural
It has often been believed that city life offers a better quality of life over the rural areas, this assertion has been challenged and the results indicate that rural areas offer an excellent environment if not better than what the city does offer. Mansor et al., (2013) reiterates that people have always assumed that the quality of life is dependents on where one lives, on the other hand, Theofilou (2013) holds the view that the quality of life is not dependent on where one lives but is a multi-components of various factors –what is referred to as “goodness”. Shucksmith et al. (2009) contribute by stating that quality of life has three pillars whether you are viewing from the city perspective of the rural perspective. The three pillars are individuals’ life situations and their perceptions, multi-dimensional and objectivity.
Therefore, it can be denoted that there are areas where city life offers a better QoL while the rural area does well in other areas. Shucksmith et al. (2009) established that there is little or no significance concerning the quality of life between urban and rural dwellers across rich European Union countries. However, there was some disparity in the quality of life across developing countries where rural dwellers had a less QoL. Mansor et al. (2013) also weighed in and established that the significant difference noted was in school setup, communication, health, and transport. Besides, their study indicated that there was not much difference regarding income, they, however, suggest that development need to be at par and commensurate with the locality. Healthwise, Tavares et al. (2015) notes that the elderly living in rural areas enjoyed more psychosocial relationships and support which improved their quality of life over their city counterparts. Also, Hourieh (2017) studied postmenopausal women and found that the urban and rural dimensions and factors were at within tolerable levels. However, the study noted that the various factors such as medical care, family relationships among others were varied across the two groups. The study concluded that rural women had did not enjoy to the same extent the QoL as their city counterparts since, since it was expected that they would continue engaging and doing labor that strained them physically and health-wise.
Other studies such as Carta, Aguglia, Caraci, Dell’Osso, Di Sciascio, Drago, Giudice,Faravelli, Hardoy, Lecca Moro, Calò, Casacchia, Angermeyer and Balestrieri (2012) state that indeed there is difference in quality of life since men enjoyed more subjective aspects of quality of life over their women counterparts whether in the city or rural areas. They also noted that quality of life reduces with time and age across the two genders; further, they also established that men’s physical location greatly influences their quality of life, while younger persons are more adaptive to urban places as compared to rural areas. The EU’s QoL study conducted in 2015 established that out of the 28 member countries that participated in the survey only 20% of the respondents across various cities indicated that they were dissatisfied with living in the city. Those who were satisfied with city living noted that satisfaction emanated from the general assurance of social and physical safety, this could imply that across rural places this could be a crucial element that they do not find and therefore leads to the feeling that city life offers a better life’s quality.
Therefore a point to consider, is while there is a group of people who are of the opinion that city life offers a better QoL is on the premise that their perspective and what they wish to get in these place. While on the other hand those who see the rural life as one that offers a better quality life also depends on their perspective and immediate need. Thus the research and information available are inconclusive to help determine which of the two places offer a better quality of life.
The above study and research indicate and outlines various studies that have been conducted on the QoL among the metropolitan and cities in comparison to countryside dwellers. While it has been noted, multiple factors may be used to gauge and assess the QoL other factors do exist. Therefore it may not be possible to state which area offers a better variety of service exhaustively. This research has strived to cover various aspects of QoL across the two categories by highlighting health issues, age, and type of residence among others. It will, therefore, suffice to note that rural and urban life offers two contrasting experiences and expectations thereof. Thus , whether be in in cities or countryside’s the two locations offer the quality life depending on what aspect one anticipates.
- Akranavičiūtė, D., & Ruževičius, J. (2007). Quality of life and its components’ measurement. Engineering economics, 52(2).
- Carta, M. G., Aguglia, E., Caraci, F., Dell’Osso, L., Di Sciascio, G., Drago, F., … & Moro, M. F. (2012). Quality of life and urban/rural living: preliminary results of a community survey in Italy. Clinical practice and epidemiology in mental health: CP & EMH, 8, 169.
- Haghi, H. B., Hakimi, S., Mirghafourvand, M., Mohammad-Alizadeh, S., & Charandabi, M. F. (2017). Comparison of Quality of Life between Urban and Rural Menopause Women and its Predictors: A Population Base Study. International Journal of Women’s Health and Reproduction Sciences, 5(2), 137-142.
- Mansor, N., Zakaria, Z., & Daud, C. H. R. (2013). Quality Of Life in the 21st Century: Narrowing the Gap between Rural and Urban Areas. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 4(5).
- Shucksmith, M., Cameron, S., Merridew, T., & Pichler, F. (2009). Urban-rural differences in quality of life across the European Union. Regional Studies, 43(10), 1275-1289.
- Tavares, D. M. D. S., Arduini, G. O., Martins, N. P. F., Dias, F. A., & Ferreira, L. A. (2015). Socioeconomic characteristics and quality of life of urban and rural elderly people with heart disease. Revista gaucha de enfermagem, 36(3), 21-27.
- Theofilou, P. (2013). Quality of Life: Definition and Measurement. Europe’s journal of psychology, 9(1).
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