Physical Quality of Life (PQLI)

The Overseas Development Council (then under the leadership of Jim Grant) developed and publicized a measure of (physical) quality of life (the PQLI) many years ago. It combines literarcy rate, infant mortality rate, and life expectancy, using scales from the lowest to the highest values in the global system. It weights the three scales equally. The literacy rate is, in turn, a function of the per capita spending levels on education, estimated cross-sectionally. In many respects the PQLI was a predecessor of the human development index (HDI).


Based on country/region-specific Physical Quality of Life, it is possible to compute world quality of life (WPQLI) and the North-South gap in quality of life (NSPQLI). Given country-specific literacy rates, it is also possible to compute world literacy (WLIT).