Digital Quality of Life Index

The previous years have witnessed an enormous expansion in the digital sector. Almost every area of endeavour benefits from digital services. The availability of the internet and digital spaces has resulted in e-commerce services and various job options online.

The factors that hold extreme importance in the constant continuation of businesses and economic decisions are internet connectivity, speed, and quality. The governments of many countries have rolled out different policies, strategies, and funding grants to improve the quality of digital life.

A global index called the ‘Digital Quality of Life Index’ is released annually to rank each country’s digital quality of life. If you are a UPSC exam aspirant, then knowledge of current affairs related to this topic is very important. Let’s learn more about this!

Candidates must also review the list of global indices and India’s ranking in each of these for 2022 at the linked article.

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What is the Digital Quality of Life Index?

The Digital Quality of Life Index is an annual report that ranks 110 countries according to digital wellbeing. This study is conducted by the cyber security company Surfshark, founded in 2018 and based in the British Virgin Islands. The methodology for the rank calculation is a compilation of five pillars, namely, internet affordability, internet quality, electronic infrastructure, electronic security, and electronic government.

These pillars consist of 14 (two more than last year) interrelated indicators and work together to measure the overall digital quality of life. Based on the index, a country’s digital wellbeing can be understood. This makes it easier for the country’s government to improve certain areas.

The Five Pillars of the Digital Quality of Life Index

The Digital Quality of Life Index is detailed research that involves a blend of these five pillars:

1. Internet Affordability: This pillar determines how long an individual has to work to afford the internet, specifically the cheapest mobile and broadband internet.

2. Internal Quality: This pillar determines the stability and speed of the internet for both mobile data and broadband. It also considers the growth of speed and strength.

3. Electronic Infrastructure: This pillar measures how developed a country’s e-infrastructure is. Better infrastructure results in smooth online experiences such as banking, shopping, entertainment, education, etc.

4. Electronic Security: E-security is a measure of a nation’s cyber security and includes various strategies the country has developed to decrease cybercrimes and protect the privacy of its people.

5. Electronic Government: E-government is the pillar that reviews the advancements of the government in the digital sector. This results in lesser corruption, better transparency for the public, and efficient public services.

Digital Quality of Life Index 2021

The Digital Quality of Life Index for 2021 was recently released by Surfshark. The survey covered around 90% of the global population. Denmark topped the rankings for the second time consecutively, followed by South Korea and Finland. The U.S. has witnessed a vast improvement as it shifted to the fifth rank from its 22nd rank in 2020.

In 2020, Denmark, Sweden, and Canada bagged the top three positions. Another important index finding is that six European countries have scored in the top ten of 2021. India was ranked at 57th in 2020 and slipped to the 59th position in the 2021 rankings. However, India bagged the 36th position in e-security, which is ahead of China’s 91st position.

Other significant findings are:

  1. The United States stands out as the country with the highest digital quality of life.
  2. South Korea takes the lead in Asia with the 2nd rank.
  3. The natives of South Africa have the highest satisfaction with their digital lives in Africa.
  4. Oceania (Australia) outperformed New Zealand in various digital areas.
  5. Ethiopia ranks 110th in the Digital Quality of Life Index 2021.

Digital Quality of Life Index is covered under the broad topic of IT, space, and computers in the UPSC syllabus. The Digital Quality of Life Index 2021 is the third edition of this study; some current affairs questions might be asked based on the previous and recent rankings.

Other Related Links

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Previous Year UPSC Prelims Polity Questions With Solutions

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Some significant findings of the Digital Quality of Life Index 2021 for India

  1. India ranked as the top South Asian country in terms of digital wellbeing for 2021.
  2. India bags the 17th position in the Asian continent.
  3. India ranks 21st in Broadband Internet Stability and 24th in Mobile Affordability and Online Services Index.
  4. Some of the worst ratings of India in 2021 include its 109th rank in Mobile Speed, 95th in the number of Internet Users, and 84th in terms of Network Readiness Index.


The Digital Quality of Life Index helps find out the gaps in the digital infrastructure of nations and hence provides an opportunity for improvement in the required areas. With better digital standards and affordable, high-quality internet, a considerable potential to level up digital wellbeing is possible.

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