(KCPW News) A new report puts a dollar value on the factors that affect quality of life in Utah, and how they’ve changed over time. It’s called the Genuine Progress Indicator. University of Utah economics professor Gunseli Berik, co-author of the report, says 22 factors were taken into consideration to reach the findings.
“What we found is basically our overall quality of life has increased, improved, since 1990, but our study suggests that this is overstated by our conventional measures by Gross Domestic Product,” she told KCPW.
For example, the study values the benefit of Utah’s deserts, forests and wetlands at $25 billion dollars, but calculates the cost of poor air quality at $409 million.
According to the study, the more traditional measure of Gross Domestic Product suggests that potentially harmful things, like consuming natural resources, contribute to economic growth.
“There is some sort of cost to this growth, upward kick, in our GDP growth rate that is taking away from well being,” Berik said.
The study was funded by the Utah Population and Environment Coalition.