Australian Social Trends 2008 is the 15th edition of an annual series that presents information on contemporary social issues and areas of public policy concern. By drawing on a wide range of ABS statistics, and statistics from other official sources, Australian Social Trends describes aspects of Australian society, and how these are changing over time. It is designed to assist and encourage informed decision-making, and to be of value to a wide audience including the public, those engaged in research, journalism, marketing, teaching and social policy, as well as anyone interested in how we live today and how we've changed over recent decades.
The material presented in Australian Social Trends 2008 is organised into nine chapters. As in previous editions, each of the first seven chapters represents a major area of social interest (i.e. population, family and community, health, education and training, work, economic resources, and housing), with an eighth chapter covering other areas of interest (e.g. transport and communication). The ninth chapter provides international comparisons for a number of these areas, comparing Australia with major OECD countries, our closest neighbours, and our trading partners.
Following the release of 2006 Census data, most chapters in this edition contain at least one article with a regional focus. Topics covered by these articles include towns of the mineral boom, people with a need for assistance, and participation in education. We have presented some articles which expand and update analysis of topics examined in previous editions. For example, in this edition, such articles cover voluntary work, trade union membership and Internet access. There are also articles on topics of interest not previously examined, such as families with a child with a disability, and complementary therapies. We have now published 453 articles across all 15 editions of Australian Social Trends. These articles are listed in the cumulative index.
The publication also includes national and state summary tables which present key social indicators in each of the seven major areas of social concern. Each set of tables is accompanied by a summary of key points and graphs for selected indicators.
In addition to thanking the people throughout the ABS who compiled, wrote and edited Australian Social Trends 2008, I would like to thank Gerry Redmond (Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales) and Siobhan Austen (Curtin University of Technology) for writing an article for the Economic resources chapter. I would also like to thank various organisations that assisted by providing data and advice, in particular the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. The ABS welcomes readers' suggestions on how the publication could be improved. To convey your views or to ask for more information, please contact the Director of Social and Progress Reporting at the address below.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616