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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2013  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2013   
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Measures of Australia's Progress

Community connections and diversity

Australians aspire to support each other and embrace diversity
Graph Image for People who have had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed - Headline

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 18 years and over.;(a) Persons aged 18 years and over.;^ Estimates for 75-84 year age group in 2006 and 85 years and over age groups have relative standard errors of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution. (a) Persons aged 18 years and over.;(a) Persons aged 18 years and over.

Source(s): ABS General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia 2006 & 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0); ABS General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia 2006 & 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0); ABS General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia 2006 & 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0); ABS General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia 2006 & 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0)

Image: Tilde - Not changed greatly

Community connections and diversity in Australia has not changed greatly in recent years

    Indicator: The proportion of people who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed

    Why is this theme important?

    Australians told us that it was important for individuals to feel connected with, contribute to, feel included in and valued by their community beyond their family and friends. An important aspect of this relationship was reciprocity, where people both give to and receive from the community. Connectedness was seen as something that can be built through quality interactions, for example through cultural activities, volunteering and services provided within the community. It can be evident in the shared sense of identity that communities and Australians have. Diversity was also valued, and linked with our ability to be resilient and innovative. While people may not embrace the lifestyles of others, the respect for difference – whether cultural difference, social difference or one of the many other ways people differ from one another – was considered a basic Australian value. This idea of respect for difference included the value Australians place on Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

    How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

    We have decided that there has been little change in community connections and diversity in Australia in recent years because the proportion of people aged 18 years and over who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed (our headline progress indicator for community connections and diversity) hasn't moved much.

    For progress, we would expect to see a decrease in this indicator.

    Between 2006 and 2010, the proportion of people aged 18 years and over who had no involvement in social and community groups remained steady and just below a third of the population (30% and 32% respectively).

    Why this headline progress indicator?

    Involvement in social and community groups is an important part of the aspiration for community connections and diversity.

    The proportion of people aged 18 years and over who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed, is considered a good measure of progress for community connections and diversity because it provides information about those people who are not connected to their community through involvement in social and community groups.

    Although people are not involved in social and community groups, this does not mean they are not making use of other social interactions to be connected with, contribute to and be valued by the community. This measure is, therefore, a partial indicator of the level of social and community connectedness amongst Australians.

    Quality assessment (see key)

    Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of the concepts of community connections and diversity as described above (based on Aspirations for our Nation).

    Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

    Let's break it down!

    Between 2006 and 2010, across all age groups, there was no significant change in the proportion of people who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed.

    Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory saw significant increases between 2006 and 2010, in the proportion of people who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed (29% to 35% and 24% and 28% respectively).

    Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

    But that is not the whole story...

    There is more to community connections and diversity than the proportion of people who had no involvement in social and community groups. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of community connections and diversity, such as community support and shared identity, have progressed.

    Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for People who have had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed - Element

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 18 years and over.;(a) Persons aged 18 years and over.;^ Estimates for 75-84 year age group in 2006 and 85 years and over age groups have relative standard errors of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution. (a) Persons aged 18 years and over.;(a) Persons aged 18 years and over.

Source(s): ABS General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia 2006 & 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0); ABS General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia 2006 & 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0); ABS General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia 2006 & 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0); ABS General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia 2006 & 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0)

Community relationships in Australia have not changed greatly in recent years


Indicator: The proportion of people who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed

Why is this element important?

Community relationships are important because they provide people with a sense of connectedness. These relationships extend beyond a person's family and friends and are based on principles of reciprocity, where people both give and receive from the community. Strong community relationships can enhance the wellbeing of the individual and the community as a whole.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about community connections and diversity.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided that there has been little change in community relationships in Australia in recent years because the proportion of people aged 18 years and over who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed (our progress indicator for community relationships) hasn't moved much.

For progress, we would expect to see a decrease in this indicator.

Between 2006 and 2010, the proportion of people aged 18 years and over who had no involvement in social and community groups remained steady and just below a third of the population (30% and 32% respectively).

Why this progress indicator?

Involvement in social and community groups is an important part of the aspiration for community connections and diversity.

The proportion of people aged 18 years and over who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed is considered a good measure of progress for community relationships because it provides information about those people who are not connected to their community through involvement in social and community groups.

Although people are not involved in social and community groups, this does not mean they are not making use of other social interactions to be connected with, contribute to and be valued by the community. This measure is, therefore, a partial indicator of the level of community relationships amongst Australians.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of community relationships.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

Between 2006 and 2010, across all age groups there was no significant change in the proportion of people who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed.

Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory saw significant increases between 2006 and 2010, in the proportion of people who had no involvement in social and community groups in the 12 months prior to being interviewed (29% to 35% and 24% and 28% respectively).

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to community connections and diversity than community relationships. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of community connections and diversity, such as community support and shared identity, have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

A data gap currently exists for community support


In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

We propose to use volunteering data as a progress indicator for the community support element in the future.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to community connections and diversity than community support. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of community connections and diversity have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

A data gap currently exists for respect for difference


In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

We propose to use rates of discrimination experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a progress indicator for the respect for difference element in the future, when sufficient data becomes available for us to assess whether progress has been made.

Rates of discrimination experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were collected through the ABS' 2002 and 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Surveys (NATSISS). However, different wording was used to understand people's experiences of discrimination, and therefore, the data is not comparable. As MAP requires comparable data from at least two different points in time to assess whether progress has been made, this element is a data gap.

However, for other statistical and research purposes not associated with change over time, the NATSISS aims to provide the most reliable and meaningful discrimination data from which improved research and informed decision making can occur.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to community connections and diversity than respect for difference. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of community connections and diversity have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

A data gap currently exists for cultural activity and participation


In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

We propose to use data from the Cultural Participation Survey as a progress indicator for the cultural activity and participation element in the future, when sufficient data becomes available for us to assess whether progress has been made.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to community connections and diversity than cultural activity and participation. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of community connections and diversity have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who identify with a clan
The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people connecting to their cultures in Australia has not changed greatly since 1994


Indicator: Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who identify with a clan, tribal group, language group, mission or regional group

Why is this element important?

Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples maintain their cultural heritage by passing their knowledge, arts and rituals from one generation to another, speaking and teaching languages and maintaining their ancestral connections with the land.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about community connections and diversity.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided that the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people connecting to their cultures in Australia has not changed greatly since 1994 because the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who identify with a clan, tribal group, language group, mission or regional group (our progress indicator for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures) hasn't moved much.

For progress, we would expect to see an increase in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who identify with a clan, tribal group, language group, mission or regional group.

A culture cannot be simply defined nor understood through any one aspect or piece of information. However, there are sometimes individual pieces of information that provide strong glimpses about how culture is being maintained. Maintaining strong levels of connection may be seen as an aim when considering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's ties to their peoples and culture.

Between 1994 and 2008, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who identify with a clan, tribal group, language group, mission or regional group remained unchanged at 62%.

Why this progress indicator?

Identification with a clan, tribal group, mission or regional group is an important part of the aspiration for community connections and diversity. For most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, connection to language, culture and country are important for forming personal and group identity.

Although only one piece of information is being used to consider culture, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who identify with a clan, tribal group, language group, mission or regional group is considered a very good measure of progress for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. There are many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribal groups, language groups, clans, missions or regional groups across Australia, each connected to a specific area of land. Each cultural group has unique cultural practices, including songs, stories, dances, Dreamings, ceremonies, initiation practices and laws. For most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, connection to language, culture and country is important for forming personal and group identity. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within each cultural group share and pass on their knowledge and cultural practices for the benefit of future generations.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

Identification with a cultural group was more common in remote areas than non-remote areas between 1994 and 2008. In 2008, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas identified with a cultural group (80%). This has not changed significantly over time (81% in 1994 and 78% in 2002).

Younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were less likely to identify with a cultural group than older people between 1994 and 2008. Since 1994, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15-24 years who identified with a cultural group decreased from 58% in 1994 to 48% in 2002 and increased to 51% in 2008.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to community connections and diversity than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people connecting to their cultures. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of community connections and diversity have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for Overseas-born Australian residents (who have lived in Australia for five years or more) who are Australian citizens

Source(s): Data available on request, ABS Censuses of Population and Housing; Data available on request, ABS Censuses of Population and Housing

A sense of shared identity in Australia has progressed since 1991

Indicator: Proportion of overseas-born Australian residents (who have lived here for five years or more) who are Australian citizens

Why is this element important?

Australians and our communities have a strong sense of shared identity and what it means to be Australian and thought it was important for Australia's progress.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about community connections and diversity.

How have we decided there has been progress?

We have decided that shared identity in Australia has progressed since 1991 because the proportion of overseas-born Australian residents (who have lived here for five years or more) who are Australian citizens (our progress indicator for shared identity) has increased.

Between 1991 and 2011, the proportion of overseas-born Australian residents (who have lived here for five years or more) who are Australian citizens rose gradually from 70% (1.9 million people) to 80% (3 million people).

Why this progress indicator?

One way to view citizenship is to look at the proportion of overseas-born Australian residents (who have lived here for five years or more) who are Australian citizens. This is an important part of the aspiration of shared identity. This is considered an acceptable measure of progress for shared identity because citizenship is a common bond for Australians. Citizenship brings both rights and responsibilities, contributing to both individual and societal wellbeing. For example, citizens have rights beyond those offered to permanent residents, including the right to vote, the right to stand or public office, and the right to hold an Australian passport. But they also have additional responsibilities. They are, for example, required to enrol on the electoral register and vote in elections, serve on a jury if required, and defend Australia should the need arise. Changes in this indicator are influenced by changes in the eligibility criteria to apply for citizenship, such as visa requirements, the number of visas awarded in any given year, and the citizenship residence requirement increasing from two years to four years (including one year as a permanent resident) in July 2010 (DIAC 2010).

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Indirect measure' This indicator is a indirect measure of shared identity.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

Between 1991 and 2011, the proportion of men and women who are overseas born Australian residents (who have lived here for five years or more), who are Australian citizens has increased.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to community connections and diversity than shared identity. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of community connections and diversity have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.


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