Which of the following would be correct?

"Improve the population quality of life" or "Improve the population's quality of life?"

I could bypass this whole situation by simply using "Improve the quality of life of the population", but I'd still appreciate your help.

  • If the second shows the possessive, then the apostrophe is needed in the first. Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 12:31

2 Answers 2


The difference between the two sentences is that in the first, "population" behaves as an adjective that modifies "quality of life" (and "the" refers to "quality of life"), and in the second "the population's" is a possessive (and "the" refers to "population"). You can find the first usage with other words, like in "Increase the population density" (as opposed presumably to tree density, or housing density...). You won't typically find it with "quality of life" however, possibly because "quality of life" is always about people so you won't ever really need an adjective to modify it in the same way as more generic words like "density" or "average". I'm sure I could find contexts in which you would naturally say "Improve the population quality of life" if I tried, but I would have to try.

So both are grammatically correct, but "Improve the population's quality of life" is the natural phrasing you want to use.


" Population quality of life " does not make sense. Try this, " Life quality of population ". Your alternative suggestion, " improve the population's quality of life" is alright. Of course, you may put Weather Vane's improvement to good use because noun- noun combination where one noun functions as an adjective does not hold good for " population quality".

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