1383.0.55.001 - Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/04/2005   
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April 20, 2005
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Statisticians ask the question "Is life in Australia getting better?"

The ABS has released a new set of summary indicators for 2005 that looks at whether life in Australia is getting better.

Available free-of-charge on the ABS web site, Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators 2005, paints a picture of national progress over the past 10 years. The summary indicators present the latest data available for 15 areas of progress including health, education and training, work, financial hardship, national wealth, and the environment.

The ABS hopes that Australians will use this information to form their own views of how our country is progressing.

The 2005 update complements the more comprehensive set of indicators available in the publication Measures of Australia's Progress (MAP) which is released every two years, the next edition of which is planned for 2006.

MAP Summary Indicators 2005 includes:

Health: During the past decade, Australians' health improved - boys born in 2003 were expected to live three years longer and girls, two years longer, than those born in 1993.

Education and training: During the past 10 years, the Australian population became more educated - between 1994 and 2004 the proportion of people aged 25-64 years with a vocational or higher education qualification rose from 44% to 58%.

Work: Australia's annual average unemployment rate fell from 9.5% in 1994 to 5.5% in 2004.

National income: Australia experienced significant real income growth during the past decade. Between 1993-94 and 2003-04, real net national disposable income per capita grew by an average annual rate of 3.1% a year.

Financial hardship: Between 1994-95 to 2002-03 the real income of low income Australians grew by 12%.

The natural landscape: Between 1994 and 2004, there was a rise of 39% in the identified numbers of threatened terrestrial birds and mammals. Much of this increase took place between 1997 and 2000 and was driven mainly by the increase in the numbers of vulnerable birds and mammals.

The human environment: Indicators such as the incidence of fine particle pollution in several cities, suggest that Australian air quality has improved during the past decade, although forest fires near Sydney and Melbourne have obscured this trend.

Further information is in MAP Summary Indicators 2005 (cat. no. 1383.0.55.001).