Australian Social Trends 2007 is the 14th edition of an annual series that presents information on contemporary social issues and areas of public policy concern. By drawing primarily on a wide range of ABS statistics, and statistics from other official sources, Australian Social Trends describes aspects of Australian society, and how these are changing over time. It is designed to assist and encourage informed decision-making, and to be of value to a wide audience including those engaged in research, journalism, marketing, teaching and social policy, as well as anyone interested in how we live today and how we've changed over recent decades.
The material presented in Australian Social Trends 2007 is organised into nine chapters. As in previous editions, each of the first seven chapters represents a major area of social concern (i.e. population, family and community, health, education and training, work, economic resources, and housing), with an eighth chapter covering other areas of concern (e.g. crime and justice, culture and leisure, and the environment). The ninth chapter provides international comparisons for a number of these areas. Australian Social Trends also contains an introduction which is designed to further explain the rationale behind the publication and describe its main aims and features.
In this edition there are a number of articles focusing on fertility, maternity and babies (such as recent increases in Australia's fertility and maternity leave arrangements), as well as a number of articles presenting international comparisons of issues (such as fertility and labour force participation). The opportunity has been taken to present some articles which expand and update analysis of topics examined in previous editions using the most recently available data. For example, in this edition, such articles cover one-parent families, international students and wealth in housing. There are also articles on topics of interest not previously examined, such as overweight and obesity, trends in household consumption and women's experience of partner violence. The number of articles listed in the cumulative index now comes to over 400, published across all 14 editions.
The national and state summary tables which present key social indicators in each of the seven major areas of social concern have been updated. Each set of tables now includes a summary of key points and graphs for selected indicators. Also updated are the set of tables comparing Australia with major OECD countries, our closest neighbours, and our trading partners.
In addition to thanking the people throughout the ABS who compiled, wrote and edited Australian Social Trends 2007, I would like to thank Dr Shail Jain of the Australian National University for his contribution in writing an article for the Family and community chapter. I would also like to thank various organisations that assisted by providing data and advice, in particular the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
The ABS welcomes readers' suggestions on how the publication could be improved. To convey your views or to ask for more information, please contact the Director of Social Analysis and Reporting at the address below.
Acting Australian Statistician
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616