This book describes the conceptual organisation of social statistics in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). It presents both an overall framework and various conceptual models used in each of the nine main areas of social concern that make up ABS social statistics. By bringing this information together in one place, the book is intended to provide a reference point for anyone wishing to understand ABS social statistics generally, or the range of issues associated with areas of analysis for which social statistics are provided.
The overall framework presented in this book has been central to the ABS's work in social statistics over recent decades and is expected to maintain its value for many years to come. However, the ABS recognises that all frameworks will continue to evolve to accommodate both changing perspectives and changing information needs. For this reason, the frameworks and issues presented in this book should be seen as being representative of a range of ways in which measuring wellbeing might be approached. Certainly it is recognised that there are many other frameworks that have been developed to support the analysis of particular social issues.
Readers interested in gaining a broad overview of social conditions in Australia are referred to the publication Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0) produced on an annual basis since 1994. Structured according to the framework described in this book, Australian Social Trends presents an array of social indicators for each area of concern, and draws together a wide range of statistics to reflect on current social issues and trends. It serves as a practical illustration of how the frameworks described here are applied.
The production of this publication would not have been possible without the contributions of numerous individuals. These include ABS statisticians with responsibilities for leading statistical development in each area of concern, and officers from other agencies who, as major users of ABS statistics, assisted by reviewing and commenting on draft chapters. I would particularly like to thank those most directly involved, namely; Ms Marion McEwin who led the project, Mr Mike Giles, a former social statistician with the ABS, for contributing core ideas for the overall project and some of the content, and Ms Imogen Wall and Mr Horst Posselt who were the principal authors.
Suggestions and comments on the contents of the publication are welcome. To express your views, please contact the Director of Social Analysis and Reporting at the following address.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
PO Box 10
Belconnen ACT 2615