Toward a global index of wellbeing (GLOWING)

How do we measure what makes life worthwhile on a global scale in the midst of rapid change?

Waterloo Professor Susan Elliott wants to answer that question and is working with an international team of researchers to develop and implement GLOWING, a global index of wellbeing for use in research and evidence based decision making. The index is based on the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW), which measures wellbeing using 64 indicators across eight domains that contribute to the overall wellbeing of Canadians.

Piloting in Kenya, GLOWING allows researchers to develop indicators that can realistically measure wellbeing in low to middle income countries. Since Kenya is on the verge of tremendous economic development, this location allows the team to index the wellbeing of a population that is in the midst of rapid change.

Kenya’s strong economic development creates a valuable research environment to pilot the Global Index of Wellbeing (GLOWING).

Kenya’s strong economic development creates a valuable research environment to pilot the Global Index of Wellbeing (GLOWING).

Four international PhD students funded by the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program have come to Waterloo to gather pilot data in Kenya, Ghana, and Barbados to develop indicators that are economically, socially, culturally, and geographically relevant to those regions. Ultimately, GLOWING will enable policy makers to make evidence-based decisions to improve the wellbeing of their country’s citizens.