Constructing a Children's Subjective Well-Being Index: an Application to Socially Vulnerable Spanish Children Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2020

start page

  • 1235

end page

  • 1254


  • 4


  • 13

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1874-897X


  • It is well-known that traditional economic measures such as household income appear to play less of a role in explaining children's subjective well-being than adults'. This paper focuses on the construction of a children's well-being index taking into account subjective and emotional factors, such as children's experiences of material deprivation and bullying, the quality of family relationships and with peers, the quality of services in their neighbourhood and personal well-being. The index is constructed from principal component analysis and rescaled to 0-100% for better interpretation. Data comes from a survey run in Spain in 2016 by the largest humanitarian organization involved in social programs in the country, covering socially vulnerable children aged 8-11, with around 2,900 respondents. The main findings are: (i) bullying makes the difference between children being moderate or completely unsatisfied with their lives; (ii) there is no a single Spanish region reaching satisfying well-being levels across all the components of the index. The methodology proposed for the construction of the index is general enough to be applied to general child population, regardless their social vulnerability condition or even country, adapting the questionnaire appropriately.


  • early childhood; bullying; principal component analysis; subjective well-being