The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of statistics relevant to quality of life on the climate of public opinion and decision making. Following this introduction and summary the paper has four sections. Section 2 gives some background information on Britain's new towns and aims to explain why these new towns appear to be the best equipped laboratory in the world for measuring the quality of life. . Sections 3 and 4 give various examples of measures relating to the quality of life which have been used in research on the new towns. Section 5 discusses the impact of these various measures of quality of life on the climate of public opinion and decision making.