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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

Enriched lives

Australians aspire to value all aspects of life that are important to people and enrich their lives

Image: Question mark - Data gap

A data gap currently exists for enriched lives

    Why is this theme important?

    Australians told us that many aspects of life that increase wellbeing and make life worthwhile are not material, and are intangible. Many participants in the consultation process wanted to acknowledge that these factors are important in people's lives. For example, many felt that emotions can be as important to people's sense of wellbeing as their material conditions and acts of altruism or caring can positively affect both the giver and receiver. Music, dance, art, poetry, film and the many forms of popular culture can bring depth and joy to people's lives, and clarify our values and identity as individuals and as a nation. Australians have a love of sport and the outdoors, and value the bonding, relaxation and insights that leisure time pursuits bring. People felt their connections with one another, with their pets and with nature; their sense of a higher purpose, their deeper beliefs and motivations; and their sense of identity and cultural heritage; can enrich their lives and our society as a whole.

    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.

    A range of possible indicators are being considered for assessing enriched lives, but the concept is broad and difficult to summarise in any one measure. In order to capture the spirit of this idea in a measure, further development will need to be undertaken. We will continue to explore options for a suitable indicator in the future.

    But that is not the whole story...

    Look through the other tabs on this page to see where we have been able to track progress for the other elements of enriched lives.

    Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
A data gap currently exists for feelings


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.

In order to capture the spirit of this idea in a measure, further development will need to be undertaken.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to enriched lives than feelings. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of enriched lives have progressed.

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

Graph Image for People that provided unpaid help to others living outside the household(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 18 years and over. ;(a) Persons aged 18 years and over. ;^ Estimates for 75-84 year age group in 2010 and 85 years and over age group in 2006 have relative standard errors of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution. * Estimate for 85 years and over age group in 2010 has a relative standard error between 25% and 50% and should be used with caution. (a) Persons aged 18 years and over.

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

Giving in Australia has not changed greatly in recent years


Indicator: Proportion of people that provided unpaid help to others living outside the household

Why is this element important?

Many aspects of life that increase well-being and make life worthwhile are not material but are intangible, such as giving to others. Many Australians felt that acts of altruism, such as providing help to others, be it material, physical or emotional support, are rewarding both for the giver and receiver and enrich the lives of both parties.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about enriched lives.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided there has been little change in giving in Australia in recent years because the proportion of people that provided unpaid help to others living outside the household (our progress indicator for giving) hasn't moved much.

For progress, we would expect to see an increase in this indicator.

Between 2006 and 2010, the proportion of people aged 18 years and over who provided unpaid help to others living outside their household remained steady at 49%.

Why this progress indicator?

Providing unpaid help to others tells us about giving as part of the aspiration for enriched lives.

The proportion of people that provided unpaid help to others living outside the household is considered a good measure of progress for giving because helping others and being concerned for others' well-being were thought to be important aspects of giving. Measuring the proportion of people who provide unpaid help goes some way to revealing how people are helping and showing kindness to others. Giving could also be measured by donation of time and resources to the community for the benefit of others, for example through volunteering, and the provision of care. Because this measure does not capture all of these different ways to give, this indicator has been assessed as partial. Some of the other types of giving and participating in society are used as measures for other elements in the society domain, such as community relationships and community support .

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of giving in Australia.

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

Let's break it down!

Between 2006 and 2010, the proportion of men and women who provided unpaid assistance to people living outside their household remained unchanged around 45% and 53% respectively. In both years the provision of unpaid help increased gradually with age up to 55–64 years and then declined for persons aged 65–74 years (44% in 2010) and further again for people aged 75-84 years (32% in 2010).

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 enriched lives than giving. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of enriched lives have progressed.

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

Graph Image for Average time spent on recreation and leisure activities, and social and community interaction(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 15 years and over.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over.

Source(s): ABS How Australians Use Their Time (cat. no. 4153.0); ABS How Australians Use Their Time (cat. no. 4153.0); ABS How Australians Use Their Time (cat. no. 4153.0); ABS How Australians Use Their Time (cat. no. 4153.0)

Time and opportunity for recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction in Australia has regressed since 1997

Indicator: Average time spent on recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction

Why is this element important?

Many Australians value the bonding, relaxation and insights that leisure time pursuits bring. They also feel that their connections with one another can enrich their lives and our society as a whole. Having time and opportunity to spend on recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction, enriches people's lives.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about enriched lives.

How have we decided there has been regress?

We have decided that time and opportunity for recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction in Australia has regressed since 1997 because the average time spent on recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction (our progress indicator for time and opportunity) has decreased. For progress, we would expect to see an increase in this indicator.

Between 1997 and 2006, the average time that Australians aged 15 years and over spent on recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction, decreased by about a quarter of an hour a day (5 hours and 15 minutes per day in 1997 to 4 hours and 56 minutes per day in 2006).

Why this progress indicator?

Time spent on recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction is an important part of the aspiration for enriched lives.

The average time spent on recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction is considered a good measure of progress for time and opportunity. This is because the information collected is used to examine how much time people have allocated to activities which may enrich their lives (such as sport, cultural activities, socialising, and community participation). These are the activities people may choose to undertake after attending to other activities in their life such as sleeping, paid work, education, domestic work, childcare, shopping and caring for others.

Leisure time is subjective and depends on a particular person's point of view. In fact, domestic, childcare or voluntary work may be considered to be leisure activities by some people (e.g. gardening, volunteering, playing with children). In order for people to spend more time on recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction, they would need to spend less time on other types of activities (e.g. sleep less, work less, spend less time on domestic work). In addition, the volume of time people spend on leisure and social activities does not provide any insight into the quality of that time, or the satisfaction or pleasure obtained.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of time and opportunity.

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

Let's break it down!

The decrease in the indicator between 1997 and 2006 is mainly due to a decrease in the time spent on recreation and leisure during that time period. Time spent on recreation and leisure decreased by 15 minutes per day, from 4 hours and 28 minutes in 1997, to 4 hours and 13 minutes in 2006. Time spent on social and community interaction remained about the same, at 45 minutes per day in 1997, and 43 minutes per day in 2006.

Also, audio/visual media activities accounted for around half of the time spent on recreation and leisure activities in both 1997 and 2006, and increased by 10 minutes during that time period (2 hours and 10 minutes in 1997 and 2 hours and 20 minutes in 2006).

Men spent more time on recreation and leisure activities, and social and community interaction each day (24 minutes per day more) than women in both 1997 and 2006.

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 enriched lives than time and opportunity to spend on recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of enriched lives have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for Participation rate for sport and physical recreation(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) In the last 12 months.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) In the last 12 months.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) In the last 12 months.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) In the last 12 months.

Source(s): ABS Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia (cat. no. 4177.0); ABS Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia (cat. no. 4177.0); ABS Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia (cat. no. 4177.0); ABS Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia (cat. no. 4177.0)

Participation in recreation and sport in Australia has not changed greatly in recent years

Indicator: Participation rate in sport and physical recreation

Why is this element important?

Australians have a love of recreation, sport and the outdoors, and value the bonding, relaxation and insights that leisure time pursuits bring.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about enriched lives.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided there has been little change in participation in recreation and sport in Australia in recent years because the participation rate for sport and physical recreation (our progress indicator for recreation and sport) hasn't moved much.

For progress, we would expect to see an increase in this indicator.

There was no significant change in the participation rate between 2005-06 and 2011-12 (66% and 65% respectively). However, as the population increased, so too did the number participating, which grew from 10.5 million to 11.7 million between 2005-06 and 2011-12.

Why this progress indicator?

Participation in sport and physical recreation is an important part of the aspiration for enriched lives.

The participation rate in sport and physical recreation is considered a good measure of progress for recreation and sport because it includes people who choose to take part in sport and physical recreation either through organised or non-organised activities. Organised activities can be arranged through recreation clubs, sporting or non-sporting associations, through gymnasiums or a wide variety of other sporting and non-sporting arrangements.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of participation in recreation and sport.

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

Let's break it down!

The participation rate in recreation and sport for men was the same in 2011-12 as it was in 2005-06, at 66%. The rate for women also saw no significant change between 2005-06 and 2011-12 (66% and 64% respectively).

The participation rate in recreation and sport remained highest in the Australian Capital Territory with 80%, while other States ranged from 62% in Queensland and South Australia to 69% in Tasmania.

Participation rates in recreation and sport also remained the same in 2005-06 and 2011-12 across age groups, with the exception of those aged 25–34 years where participation decreased from 75% to 70%.

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 enriched lives than participation in recreation and sport. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of enriched lives have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for Attendance rate and participation rate in cultural activities, venues or events(a)(b)(c)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) At least once in the last 12 months. (c) Attendance at cultural venues or events.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) At least once in the last 12 months. (c) Attendance at cultural venues or events.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) In the last 12 months. (c) Participation for selected cultural activities.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) In the last 12 months. (c) Participation for selected cultural activities.

Source(s): ABS Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia (cat. no. 4114.0); ABS Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia (cat. no. 4114.0); ABS Participation in Selected Cultural Activities, Australia, 2010-11 (cat no. 4921.0); ABS Participation in Selected Cultural Activities, Australia, 2010-11 (cat no. 4921.0)

Popular culture and the arts in Australia have not changed greatly since 1999


Indicator 1: Attendance rate for cultural events and venues

Indicator 2: Participation rate for selected cultural activities

Why is this element important?

Popular culture and the arts can bring depth and joy to people's lives, and clarify our values and identity as individuals and as a nation.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about enriched lives.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided there has been little change in popular culture and the arts in Australia since 1999 because the two progress indicators for popular culture and the arts haven't moved much.

The attendance rate for cultural events and venues (our first progress indicator for popular culture and the arts) hasn't moved much and the participation rate for selected cultural activities (our second progress indicator for popular culture and the arts) has only one data point at this point in time.

For progress, we would expect to see both these indicators increase.

Between 1999 and 2009-10, the attendance rate at cultural venues or events didn't change significantly, 85% (or 12.6 million people) and 86% (or 17.5 million people) respectively.

Data for participation in selected cultural activities (our second progress indicator for popular culture and the arts), shows that in 2010-11 more than a quarter of people (27% or 4.7 million people) participated in at least one selected cultural activity. Activities included things such as dancing, singing or playing a musical instrument, sculpting, painting or drawing, photography and film making and performing in a drama, opera or musical to name a few.

Why these progress indicators?

Attending cultural venues or events and participating in cultural activities are important parts of the aspiration for enriched lives.

Attendance rates at cultural events and venues and participation rates at selected cultural activities are considered good measures of progress for popular culture and the arts because by directly measuring people's involvement in these recreational activities we gain an insight into how important these activities are to Australians. Even though these measures haven't changed greatly as a proportion of Australians, they support what Australians told us - that is, that these activities are an important part of many Australians' lives.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Direct measure' Both indicators are direct measures of popular culture and the arts.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' Both data sources are of a high quality.

Let's break it down!

Cinemas were the most popular of all cultural venues or events, with the attendance rate remaining at 67% between 1999 and 2009-10.

People aged 15-24 years had the highest participation rate in selected cultural activities (34%), followed by those aged 25-34 years (28%). Participation rates also tended to decrease with a persons age. Overall, women had a higher participation rate (31%) than men (23%).

In 2010-11, people who were born in Australia had a higher participation rate in selected cultural activities (28%) than those born overseas (23%). This rate varied depending on the type of country in which people were born. Those born in non-main English-speaking countries had a participation rate in selected cultural activities of 18%, whereas people born in main English-speaking countries had a rate of 30%.

In 2010-11, of the 11.5 million people employed in the week prior to being interviewed, 27% (3.1 million people) participated in a selected cultural activity. People who were employed part-time had a higher participation rate in selected cultural activities (32%) than those who were employed full-time (25%). People who were unemployed had a participation rate in selected cultural activities of 32%, while those not in the labour force had a participation rate in selected cultural activities of 26%.

As we have chosen to present two progress indicators for the element of popular culture and the arts, you can use the drop down menu on the graph to look at graphs relevant to each of these indicators (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to enriched lives than popular culture and the arts. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of enriched lives 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 spirituality

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.

A range of possible indicators are being considered for spirituality, such as religious affiliation. In order to capture the spirit of this idea in a measure, further development will need to be undertaken. We will continue to explore options for a suitable indicator in the future.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to enriched lives than spirituality. Click through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of enriched lives have progressed.

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

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