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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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Interpreting OECD Social Indicators

Society at a Glance 2009 contributes to addressing two questions:

  • Compared with their own past and with other OECD countries, what progress have countries made in their social development?
  • How effective have been the actions of society in furthering social development?

Addressing the first societal progress question requires indicators covering a broad range of social outcomes across countries and time. As social development requires improvements in health, education, and economic resources, as well as a stable basis for social interactions, indicators have to be found for all these dimensions.

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