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community, disparity, South Korea, social quality



  1. Jung, Minsoo PhD, MPH


Quality of life was originally included in the concept of social quality (SQ), which refers to the possibility of manifesting the life chance possessed by each individual and the consequences resulting from restricting such possibility. Social quality describes how favorable the socioenvironmental components are that impact the possibility of an individual's life. Despite the close relationship between community capacity and SQ, the components and regional disparities of SQ have not yet been examined. This study identified community-based distribution and disparities of SQ in South Korea, including health indicators. Standardized methods of SQ were used to examine the interrelationships among institutional capacity, citizen capacity, and their associations with population-based health indicators. Under the principles of conceptual suitability, reliability, clarity, comparability, and changeability, a total of 18 SQ indicators were collected, then transformed by European Social Survey standardization and Geographical Information System computation. In the results, the hidden structure that determined the distribution of the SQ indicators was the financial independence and average length of residence. Financial independence indicated the size of the budget that each local community controls was out of the total budget. The average length of residence showed a reverse-U-shape relation to the mutual supports of the residents. The regional distribution of the SQ indicators largely differed from the local economic index or health indicators. Disparities in SQ indicators are likely to arise from the degree of urbanization and the degree of citizens' cohesiveness. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze in-depth cases of both local government with high SQ indicators in all fields and those with low SQ indicators in all fields. In addition, there is a need to elucidate the structural causes and backgrounds that produce disparities in SQ, thus lowering disparities among regions, and to develop policies that will promote the overall and continuous improvement of SQ.