Still healthy, wealthy and wise – but dropping in productivity , 2011

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6 October 2011
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Still healthy, wealthy and wise – but dropping in productivity

The average Australian is living longer, is better educated and has a higher income, but productivity has dropped off over the last ten years according to Measures of Australia's Progress, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Is life in Australia getting better?
Over the last decade, our average life expectancy has improved by two to three years, higher education qualifications are held by more of the population and average incomes have grown by an extra $8,200. However, our productivity has fallen, with productivity dropping 2.1 percentage points (see media note).

There has also been progress in other areas; unemployment has dropped from 6.3% in 2000 to 5.2% in 2010, and average household incomes for both low and middle income Australians grew by more than one-third (38%). National wealth per person (real net worth) has gone from $285,700 in 2000 to $308,500 in 2010.

However, there is more to progress than economic factors - the number of Australian animal species threatened with extinction has increased - from 332 in 2000 to 432 in 2010 and greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 were 13% higher than they were in 1999.

Deputy Australian Statistician Trevor Sutton, said Measures of Australia’s Progress: Summary Indicators, presents reliable, easy to understand information that describes how Australia is progressing across a range of social, economic and environmental measures.

“Measures of Australia’s Progress is one of the most important publications the ABS produces for the Australian public. It applies to each and every one of us.” Mr Sutton said.

For more discussion on these changes over time, and other important areas of life in Australia, please see Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2011.

Media note:
  • Productivity is the efficiency with which an economy transforms inputs into outputs and is best measured by multifactor productivity in the market sector based on quality adjusted hours worked.
  • When reporting ABS data the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.

How do you think we should be measuring Australia’s progress? The ABS is seeking your aspirations and views on our Measures of Australia’s Progress Blog