Social Quality Indicators (project 2001–2005)

A design for indicators measuring social quality

From October 2001 until 2005 the EFSQ co-ordinated the European Thematic Network on Indicators of Social Quality (ENIQ). This Network project was funded by the Fifth Framework Programme of DG Research of the EC. The Network consisted of university partners of fourteen countries: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and two international NGO-partners: the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) and the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN).

As a result of the efforts and commitment of the participants, the Network was able to deliver substantial additional outputs beyond those originally envisaged. These include major explorations of the four conditional factors of social quality - socio-economic security, social cohesion, social inclusion and social empowerment - all of which are key concepts for European policy; important theoretical development of the concept of social quality; and fourteen national surveys of the current trends in social quality (see below).

Although much of the work of the Network was concerned with the detailed and laborious examination of specific indicators the policy implications of its work are highly significant. In contrast to previous attempts to measure living standards, social exclusion or, more generally, quality of life, the Network has provided the basis for a holistic and theoretically grounded approach to both understanding and measuring the quality of social life as lived, day to day, by citizens in all European countries.

In the European Journal on Social Quality Volume 5, Issues 1&2 2005 the first results of the application of indicators of social quality are discussed and interpreted. As Professor Dave Gordon of Bristol University writes in his editorial:

'It is clear that any project for producing internationally comparable operational measures of Social Quality faces huge intellectual and practical difficulties. However, the papers in this issue show that a great progress has been made by the ENIQ project and that an empirical framework for social quality research has now been successfully established.'

See also The European Journal on Social Quality, Volume 5, Issues 1&2 2005.

Read the Final Report of the ENIQ project.


National reports

The final report is based on the following national reports:



  • Prof.dr. Alan Walker (chair), Sheffield University, UK
  • Dr. Laurent van der Maesen (secretary), European Foundation on Social Quality, The Netherlands
  • Dr. David Phillips, Sheffield University, UK
  • Prof.dr. Maria Petmesidou, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
  • Prof.dr. Denis Bouget, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme Ange Guepin, France
  • Prof.dr. Bea Cantillon, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • Dr. Mika Gissler, STAKES, Finland
  • Prof.dr. Ilona Ostner, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany
  • Dr. Erzsebet Bukodi, Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Hungary
  • Prof.dr. Séamus O'Cinneide, National University of Ireland, Ireland
  • Prof.dr. Chiara Saraceno, University of Turin, Italy
  • Prof.dr. Chris de Neubourg, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • Dr. Heloisa Perista, CESIS, Portugal
  • Dr. Srna Mandic, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Prof.dr. Juan Monreal, University of Murcia, Spain
  • Prof.dr. Göran Therborn, SCASSS, Sweden
  • Fintan Farrell, European Anti Poverty Network, Belgium
  • Marjaliisa Kauppinen, International Council on Social Welfare, Norway


  • Dr. Wolfgang Beck, The Netherlands
  • Dr. Peter Herrmann, ESOSC, Ireland
  • Dr. Yitzhak Berman, European Centre for Social Welfare, Policy and Research, Austria
  • Prof. dr. Dave Gordon, University of Bristol, UK

Related documents

From theory to indicators

This project has been an important milestone in developing social quality indicators. In the years following the project, this has led to the publication of the book Social Quality – From Theory to Indicators, edited by Laurent J. G. Van Der Maesen and Alan Walker. The book is available from the publishers' website. In 2015, the book was translated in Chinese.

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