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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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About MAP

HOW SHOULD THE DASHBOARD ON THE MAP HOME PAGE BE INTERPRETED?

MAP presents approximately 80 headline and supplementary indicators overall. To assist readers in gaining a quick understanding of some of the key points, MAP presents a more compact suite of seventeen dimensions in a dashboard format on the MAP home page. This format shows the change occurring between two points in time: now and about ten years ago. It is only a simple summary of change in that area. However, the dashboard format allows the reader to quickly view all domains of progress at once so they can more readily assess, on balance, whether life in Australia is getting better.

For information about changes that occurred during the last decade, about changes that go back further in time (where possible), or for contextual data, more detailed pages are provided within the relevant section. For example, the more detailed pages provide commentary and information about population groups such as men and women, older people, young people or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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What is the difference between the dashboard and the more detailed content?

For the indicators on the MAP home page, movement is determined by comparing two data points: 10 years ago with the most recent available data. A "traffic light" (red, green or amber) is then used to demonstrate this movement for each indicator. Those who would like more detail about changes that occurred during the last decade, or about changes that go back further in time, can go to the more detailed pages within the relevant section.

The traffic light system differs from how the headline indicators are presented on the more detailed pages because it looks at change between only two points in time, rather than the history of movements that occurred during the ten year period.

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What do the traffic lights mean?

The traffic light format shows whether the indicator is moving clearly in a 'positive' direction (signalling progress), clearly in a 'negative' direction (signalling regress) or there is no significant movement.

For the headline indicators shown on the MAP home page, the traffic lights indicate:

image:tick Progress has generally been made in this headline indicator compared with ten years ago
When comparing current data to data for ten years earlier, the change is in a direction which clearly signals progress and, where applicable, that change is statistically significant.

image:cross This headline indicator has generally regressed compared with ten years ago
When comparing current data to data for ten years earlier, the change is in a direction which clearly signals regress and, where applicable, that change is statistically significant.

image:no change There has been no significant movement in this headline indicator compared with ten years ago
When comparing current data to data for ten years earlier, there is no movement observable or the movements observed in any direction are not statistically significant.

image:grey There is either no headline indicator for this area of progress or no series of data covering the ten year period
For three headline dimensions (Family, community and social cohesion; Democracy, governance and citizenship; and Oceans and estuaries) there is no headline indicator. Crime is also assigned a grey box as there is only data from one point in time available for the current Crime headline indicators (Victims of personal crime - assault; Victims of household crime - break-ins).


Why have these statistics been highlighted?

The headline indicators on the MAP home page were selected because they summarise very effectively change in the relevant dimension. As discussed in the section What is a progress indicator?, they were also chosen because they show change that is very clearly either positive or negative.

In particular, these statistics were chosen on the basis that most Australians would agree that the change they show can be unambiguously associated with progress or regress.


Is the change shown statistically significant?

The use of the traffic light format is a very powerful visual tool for people to quickly assess whether life in Australia is getting better. Therefore ABS needs to be satisfied that the movement shown is an actual movement and is not the result of 'statistical noise'. As is standard procedure, where appropriate, the ABS has undertaken significance testing to determine whether the movements are statistically significant. Statistical significance means a movement or comparison is not likely to have happened just by chance.

 

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