Society at a Glance 2011

OECD Social Indicators

image of Society at a Glance 2011

This sixth edition of Society at a Glance, OECD's biennial overview of social indicators,  updates some indicators from previous volumes and introduces several new ones. It also features a special chapter on unpaid work. It includes data on the four newest OECD members: Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia. Where available, data on major emerging economies Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa are also included.

English Also available in: Korean, French



Voting in national parliamentary elections is one indicator of people’s participation in their community’s national life. The indicator used here to measure the participation of individuals to the electoral process is the “voter turnout”, i.e. the number of individuals that cast a ballot during an election as a share of the population of voting age – generally the population aged 18 or more – as available from administrative records of member countries. Different types of elections occur in different countries and for different geographical jurisdictions. For some countries, it should be noted, turnout for presidential elections and regional elections may be higher than for national parliamentary elections, perhaps because those elected through these ballots are constitutionally more important for how those countries are run. Equally, relatively frequent elections may reduce turnout. Data about voter turnout are extracted from the international database organised by the Institute for Democratic and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). This section also presents data on the turnout of voters by selected socio-demographic characteristics. These data, based on surveys of individuals undertaken after major elections, are based on the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES), an international research program that collects comparable data on elections. Estimates of the total voter turn-out from these surveys may differ from those based on administrative data, shown in CO4.1. Highly educated people are defined as those who have attended university and low levels as those who have not completed secondary school.

English Also available in: French


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