Census Data Measures Australia's Progress

'Is life in Australia getting better? Take a look, you might be surprised' beckons the MAP video (MAP - Measuring Australian's Progress, a tool on the ABS website). MAP   consulted on what is considered important to Australians, coming up with 26 'aspirations', that were linked with indicators.  Each element was tested against the indicator, using census data from the ABS.

Results seek to demonstrate if each element has either as improved (green tick), stayed the same (orange line), or worsened (red x).  Where the data is lacking, there's a blue question mark.  The range of aspirations relate broadly to society, governance, environment and economy.  A list of the aspirations (and their results) are shown below:

The full report discusses what was included in each indicator, as well as why its important.

The ABS acknowledges that 'progress is a mixed bag'.  Some indicators have stayed stable, some have improved, and some have worsened.  They have also owned up where they don't have the data to answer several of the elements raised in consultation.  That's not surprising given that some elements are ultra-subjective, such as 'a fair go'.

The tool shows that for the most part, Austrlians are better off in terms of health, learning and knowledge and jobs.  We haven't changed much in terms of 'societal' stuff like home, relationships, community connections and diversity, and we have gotten worse in terms of sustaining the environment and a resilient economy.  Yikes.

Ultimately results such as this need to be taken with a grain of salt; it is problematic to generalise; personal experiences will differ greatly and results will be influenced by heaps of different factors, and there is no sensitivity in built to pick up on this kind of stuff.  However, I think it does show ways census data can be used to 'tell a story' and compare these elements over time.

Read on here, and check out this summary page and video at the ABS.


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