Cyberseminar on "The Demography of Sustainable Human Wellbeing" - Welcome messege

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Aayushma K.C.

Mar 15, 2022, 10:37:36 AM3/15/22
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Dear PERNSEMINAR list members,

Welcome to PERNs cyberseminar on “Demography of Sustainable Human Wellbeing”!  Our welcome webinar, which took place yesterday is available for viewing at

The seminar which began yesterday, Monday, March 14th, will run through until Monday, March 21st.

The main aim of this cyberseminar is to vet the newly introduced indicator of human wellbeing called “Years of good Life” (YoGL), developed by Wolfgang Lutz and his team for the study of sustainable development priorities (see PNAS article) . This indicator builds on the length of life (i.e. average life expectancy), but since mere survival is not considered enough also incorporates four central constituents of human wellbeing: being out of absolute poverty, enjoying physical and cognitive health, and stating subjective life satisfaction above a minimal level. Within the backdrop of YoGL, this seminar looks to delve into the deeper topics of human wellbeing, such as: 

1)      The idea of having universally acceptable measures of human wellbeing and issues that come along with it.

2)      Is the avoidance of premature death of oneself or the people we care about the most fundamental component of enjoying any quality of life?

3)      Subjective vs. Objective indicators of human wellbeing

4)      Perplexing findings about what constitutes life satisfaction in different places/cultures

5)      Wellbeing in the context of social inequality and climate change

6)      Forecasting wellbeing as a function of natural, human and produced capitals (inclusive wealth)

This cyberseminar will be carried out via a discussion list. Throughout the week we will post statements and thought pieces by the following contributors to foster a lively discussion:

  • Vanessa di Lego ,  Vienna Institute of Demography, Austria, Statement on Issues within the measurement of wellbeing 
  • David Smith, The University of the West Indies, Jamaica, Statement on Universally acceptable standards for wellbeing indicators
  • Sonja Spitzer, University of Vienna, Austria, Statement on supporting objective indicators of wellbeing.
  • Kathryn Grace, University of Minnesota, USA, Statement on YoGL within the context of social inequality and climate change

Their statements will be posted to the list, and will also be available at

Finally, a few general guidelines:

·         we recommend reading the background materials, however this is not necessary in order to contribute to the discussions and debates.

·         As a general rule we like to encourage informed contributions – i.e., based on first-hand research, personal observation, or familiarity with the literature.

·         Where assertions are made, we suggest (to the extent of possible) to include citations and provide references at the end of your message.

Without further ado, we wish all a very fruitful discussion!



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