While overall our life expectancy continues to climb and our educational attainment increases, gaps remain between the health and education outcomes of Australians living in cities and those living elsewhere.
Released quarterly, Australian Social Trends presents analysis and commentary on a wide range of social issues. The March edition includes the following articles: Health outside Major Cities; Health services: Use and patient experience; Life expectancy trends — Australia; Year 12 attainment; and Education and Indigenous wellbeing.
Australian Social Trends draws on a wide range of data, sourced both from ABS and other agencies, to present a picture of Australian society. This publication aims to inform decision-making, research and discussion on social conditions in Australia. It covers social issues of current and ongoing concern, population groups of interest, and changes in these over time.
The selection of articles aims to address current and perennial social concerns and to provide answers to key social questions. Some topics are revisited as new data become available. The aim of this approach is for each report to remain responsive to contemporary concerns, while accumulating a more comprehensive picture of Australian social conditions over time. For this reason, articles often include cross references to other relevant articles in the current issue, and in previous issues. All Australian Social Trends articles published since 1994 are available via the 'Article archive' page.
Australian Social Trends is structured according to the ABS Wellbeing Framework which identifies areas of social concern, population groups and transactions among people and entities within their social environments (see ABS Measuring Wellbeing: Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics, 2001 - cat. no. 4160.0). The broad areas of social concern are:
- family and community
- education and training
- economic resources
- crime and justice
- culture and leisure
- other areas - including environment, religion, and transport and communication.
Australian Social Trends is now issued on a quarterly basis (From 1994 to 2008 it was an annual publication). In the course of a year, the articles will cover a wide range of the areas of social concern.
The articles focus strongly on people and social concerns. Each article aims to tell a story, providing a sense of the social and historical context in which a particular topic is embedded, moving from the general to the specific, and using statistics to bring light to the issue. Articles aim to balance 'what' analysis (relating the relevant statistical facts surrounding the issue, e.g. number, characteristics, change over time, sex, age and other differences), with 'why' analysis (providing context and explanation by highlighting relevant social changes and events and the chronologies of these). For example, an article on work may examine current labour force participation, how the labour market has changed over time, how different groups of people are affected by social and economic conditions, and how these factors may be linked to observed employment trends.