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WHAT IS SOCIAL CAPITAL?
Interest in social capital has grown strongly over the last decade, yet there is no internationally agreed framework of what constitutes social capital, how it accumulates in society, the impacts on communities and individuals, nor how to measure all of the above. Since late 2001, the ABS has been researching these issues, and holding workshops and meetings around Australia to gauge the level of interest in measuring social capital and to determine the associated information needs. Earlier this year, the ABS released an information paper that describes a broad conceptual framework for statistics on social capital and a set of possible indicators for measuring aspects of social capital. This information paper, Measuring Social Capital, An Australian Framework and Indicators is freely available on the ABS web site. Suggestions and comments on the publication are invited, and should be sent to the Assistant Director of Community Statistics, whose address is provided in the preface of the information paper. Some of the indicators are already being collected as part of the ABS's General Social Survey. The ABS has now commenced work on developing measures of additional indicators to be included as a supplement to the 2005-06 General Social Survey.
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