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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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About MAP

HOW IS 'PROGRESS' DEFINED IN MAP2010?

"No single idea has been more important than the idea of progress in Western civilisation for three thousand years."
Nisbet 1980, History of the Idea of Progress, New York: Basic Books

The concept of progress is central to MAP. In its broadest sense, we define progress to be synonymous with life getting better. In addressing this concept, MAP 2010 examines many aspects of people's lives, for example, their health, the quality of their environment, their incomes, work and leisure, security from crime, and so on.

That is, we acknowledge that progress is multidimensional. Whether or not we are progressing depends on all of these factors: on the state of our environment, the health of our economy and a variety of areas of individual and societal wellbeing. And so measures of progress for each dimension are necessary.

In MAP 2010, we do not make a statement about whether Australia is on balance progressing, or at what rate it is progressing. Instead, we present the information in such a way that readers can consider the relative importance of progress in each dimension and bring their own personal evaluations to these questions.

However, this edition of MAP includes a special article on Future directions for measuring Australia's progress, and we encourage those who are interested to read this, particularly the section on Defining "progress". The article discusses some current thinking about how progress can best be defined. In particular, the article emphasises that when measuring progress we need to ensure we are measuring what Australians care about.

The MAP blog is now open, if you would like to contribute to the discussion raised in this article, or on any other aspect of MAP.

Go to our blog to discuss how to define progress in a way that leads to meaningful statistics

 

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