Social and Progress Reporting
The Social and Progress Reporting Program informs government and the community about wellbeing and progress in Australia. It draws together data and analysis both from within the ABS and from a range of other sources, and produces reports covering a wide range of social and other issues. The reports include analysis of current circumstances, how circumstances have changed over time, how different groups of people have been affected, and how various factors may have accounted for observed trends. The reports provide information on the well-being of the population, the extent of need and disadvantage in society, contemporary social issues, the interrelationships between economic, social and environmental aspects of life, and whether life in Australia is getting better.
The program is also responsible for providing leadership and coordination relating to the conceptual organisation of social statistics including the overall social statistics framework and related conceptual models. The framework’s two primary dimensions, areas of social concern and population groups, are central to ABS social statistics collection and reporting activity.
The main outputs of the program are reports that take a cross-cutting approach and bring together information on the situation of Australians across a range of areas of concern and for a variety of population groups of interest. The reports describe key aspects of Australian life and how these are changing over time.
The key outputs are:
- Australian Social Trends (ABS cat. no. 4102.0), a quarterly flagship publication that contains articles on contemporary social issues and a range of social indicators covering major areas of social concern (such as health, education, work, and family and community)
- Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP) (ABS cat. no. 1370.0), an annual web-based product that presents a national summary of economic, social and environmental progress through indicators, descriptive text and, from 2010, a dashboard display of key indicators to help readers assess, at a glance, whether life in Australia is getting better.
Other outputs include:
- reports of analysis of social data sets that address technical and social issues and contribute to the work program of the ABS’s Analytical Community.
- short audio podcasts of Australian Social Trends (AST) articles, extending the reach of AST through a multi-channel or modal approach
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- under the guidance of the Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP) Expert Reference Group, report on the major consultation undertaken during 2011 which aimed to identify what societal progress means to Australians. The report will describe the consultation process itself, and the outcomes of the consultation. It will be released in the second half of 2012, and will contribute to the fourth World Forum on the Progress of Societies to be held in New Delhi, India – due 2012
- under the guidance of the MAP Expert Reference Group, further develop the conceptual foundation for progress as the basis of the next version of the MAP product and in the context of Australia’s high level involvement in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Global Project on Progress – due 2013
- under the guidance of the MAP Expert Reference Group, develop the next generation of MAP that incorporates the outcomes of the 2011 consultation process and includes the development of a new, user friendly web interface – due 2013
- continue the quarterly publication of Australian Social Trends (ABS cat. no. 4102.0), ensuring that the articles and social indicators reflect current and emerging social concerns and that the delivery of the publication through the web is kept up to date and is engaging for stakeholders – ongoing
- further strengthen the analytical value of the ABS’s rich data holdings through research and development papers and working collaboratively with a range of internal and external stakeholders – ongoing.
Gemma Van Halderen
Social Data Integration and Analysis Branch
Australian Social Trends (ABS cat. no. 4102.0)
Measures of Australia’s Progress (ABS cat. no. 1370.0)