ABS Report on Social Wellbeing
16 July 2007 at 4:17 pm
Just over half of Australian adults (54%) felt that they could trust ‘most people’, according to a report on social wellbeing from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
People were most likely to trust their doctor (89%) and local police (76%). Older people (75+) were even more likely to trust their doctor (95%).
Most people felt that they had a network of people to contact if they needed advice or information, with 72% saying they knew someone in an organisation that they felt comfortable contacting.
Nearly all people (96%) had at least weekly contact with family or friends that they didn’t live with. People’s friends were generally a similar age (66%), similar education (57%), and similar ethnic background (73%). Most people (93%) felt that in a time of crisis they could get support from people living outside their household, including family (80%) and friends (67%).
Among the many, often inter-related, aspects of life that are important to human wellbeing are good health, good family relationships and engagements with wider social networks, good educational opportunities and outcomes, suitable employment, a decent income and freedom from financial stress, a decent and affordable place to live, feeling safe and secure, and having access to suitable transport.
There is increasing recognition that many social phenomena are inter-related and social policy is becoming less sectoral as a consequence.
In 2006, the ABS conducted the second General Social Survey (GSS), a multi-dimensional social survey that ranges across all of these aspects of life.
The report included support for the community which can be measured in the form of financial donations to organisations. In 2006, 77% of total persons aged 18 years and over had donated money in the last 12 months. The most popular types of organisations to which donations were given were community and welfare groups (61%), followed by hospitals/health organisations (32%) and schools (19%) (table 30).
People’s involvement in the wider community through social activities and organised groups was measured in the 2006 GSS. In 2006, 63% of people had actively participated in one or more social groups during the last 12 months.
There was some variation in such participation according to age. Younger persons aged 18 to 24 years had a higher rate of participation in social groups (67%) and the participation rate declined for those aged 75 years or more (54%). The most popular type of social participation for younger age groups was through sport and physical recreation groups (44% of 18 to 24 year olds). The most popular type of social participation for people aged 75 years or more was through religious or spiritual organisations (table 29).
One-third of people were actively involved in one or more community support groups in the last 12 months. The age group with the highest participation was 35 to 44 year olds (42%). Education and training groups, and parenting, children or youth groups, were the community support groups in which people of this age participated the most, reflecting their life cycle stage.
Participation in one or more civic or political groups during the last 12 months was at the rate of 19% for all persons aged 18 years and over. This level of involvement varied with age. It was 23% for those aged 45 to 64 years, with lower levels of involvement from younger and older persons. The civic or political groups that people were most likely to be active in were trade union, professional and technical associations (7%), environmental or animal welfare groups (5%), followed by body corporate or tenants’ associations (4%)
Download the full report at: www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mf/4159.0?OpenDocument