INTRODUCTION TO AUSTRALIAN SOCIAL TRENDS
Australian Social Trends (AST) is an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) flagship publication presenting a picture of Australian society through a selection of articles. The articles aim to address current and ongoing social concerns, and focus on population groups of interest and changes over time. Each tells a story and provides a sense of the social and historical context of its topic.
The articles draw on a wide range of data, sourced both from the ABS and other agencies. AST aims to inform decision-making, research and discussion on social conditions in Australia.
Australian Social Trends uses the ABS Wellbeing Framework to identify areas of social concern, population groups and transactions among people and entities (see ABS Measuring Wellbeing: Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics, 2001), with each AST release covering a range of the areas of social concern. The broad areas of social concern are:
- family and community
- education and training
- economic resources
- crime and justice
- culture and leisure
- other areas - including environment, religion, and transport and communication.
Articles aim to balance 'what' analysis (relating the relevant statistics surrounding the issue, e.g. number, characteristics, change over time, sex, age and other differences), with 'why' analysis (providing context and explanation by highlighting relevant social changes and events and the timelines of these). Some topics are revised as new data becomes available. The aim of this approach is to remain responsive to contemporary concerns, while accumulating a more comprehensive picture of Australian social conditions over time.
All AST articles are available via the 'Article archive