Australian Social Trends 2005 is the 12th 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 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 2005 is organised into nine chapters. As in previous editions, each of the first seven chapters represents a major area of social concern (i.e. population, family and community, health, education and training, work, economic resources, and housing), with an eighth chapter covering other areas of concern (e.g. crime and justice, culture and leisure, and the environment). The ninth chapter provides international comparisons for a number of these areas. Australian Social Trends also contains an introduction which is designed to further explain the rationale behind the publication and describe its main aims and features. The opportunity has been taken to present some articles which expand and update analysis of topics examined in previous editions using the most recently available data. For example, in this edition, such articles cover fertility trends, female and male earnings, labour force characteristics of people with a disability and housing for older people. There are also articles on new topics of interest such as grandparents who are the guardians of their grandchildren, nursing workers, social and sporting participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and household water use and conservation. The number of articles listed in the cumulative index now comes to over 350, published across all 12 editions.
The national and state summary tables which present key social indicators in each of the seven major areas of social concern have been updated, as have the tables comparing Australia with major OECD countries, our closest neighbours, and our trading partners. This edition also contains, for the first time, national and state summary indicators for the eighth chapter on other areas of social concern.
I would like to thank the people throughout the ABS who compiled, wrote and edited Australian Social Trends 2005, and John Spierings from the Dusseldorp Skills Forum who authored an article for the Education and training chapter. I would also like to thank reviewers from a range of commonwealth agencies and departments who gave their time and expertise, and various organisations that assisted in other ways by providing data and advice, including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services. 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 Analysis and Reporting at the address below.
Acting Australian Statistician
Australian Bureau of Statistics
PO Box 10
Belconnen ACT 2616