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Society at a Glance 2009

OECD Social Indicators

image of Society at a Glance 2009

Society at a Glance offers a concise quantitative overview of social trends and policies across the OECD. This 2009 edition includes a wide range of information on social issues – such as demography and family characteristics, employment and unemployment, poverty and inequality, social and health care expenditure, and work and life satisfaction –as well as a guide to help readers understand the structure of OECD social indicators. 

In addition to updating some of the indicators from previous editions, Society at a Glance 2009 adds several new and innovative social indicators, including adult height, perceived health status, risky youth behaviour and bullying. For the first time, the report also provides a condensed set of headline social indicators summarising social well-being in OECD countries. In addition, a special chapter examines leisure time across the OECD.

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Height

The height data focuses on people aged 20 to 49 years old. Below age 20, height growth may still occur and above age 50 people start physically shrinking. Measured height is preferred over self-reported height as evidence suggests that respondents tend to overestimate their own stature (Gorber et al., 2007). This self-reporting bias varies according to age, sex, education, mode of interview, and purpose of the survey. Data from a recent systematic review suggests that unweighted average over-estimation of height from self reports by general adult male and female populations may be roughly about 1 cm in both cases (Gorber et al., 2007). When height of age cohorts aged 20-24 years old is compared to that of those aged 45-49 years old to examine how recent adult height has been changing, some or all of this measurement error may be removed by the differencing. Where possible, data was obtained directly from specialised official health surveys.

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