As a part of the international debate on Beyond the GDP, this paper describes the temporal trend of the multidimensional well-being of the Italians from 1861 to 2011. Building on the CNEL and ISTAT’s Equitable and Sustainable Well-being (Benessere Equo e Sostenibile, BES) project, the paper selects 41 indicators that are grouped into eight dimensions characterizing the most important aspects of everyday life: health, education, work, economic well-being, political participation, security, environment and research and development. In order to synthesize the information provided by this large set of indicators, a composite index for each dimension is tracked over the time span of 150 years. The main contributions of this paper consist in providing an analysis of the Italian BES over such a long period. As a result, the eight domains exhibit temporal tendencies that are different from the one of economic well-being. In particular, health, education, work and political participation show a pattern increasing over time (analogously to economic well-being), although at different growth rates, while an overall declining path emerges for the domains of security, environment and research and development. Moreover, we identify four main periods of the Italian history (before WWI, the Fascist period, the years from 1950 to 1990 and the most recent period) each characterized by different relations among the well-being domains.
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