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social indicators

social indicators Easily identified features of a society which can be measured, which vary over time, and are taken as revealing some underlying aspect of social reality. For example, the Retail Prices Index is used as a measure of inflation, which in turn is taken as a key indicator of economic performance. In general, the most commonly used indicators are derived from official statistics, and include unemployment figures, health and mortality data, and crime-rates. Quite frequently social indicators are used to assess the extent to which a society is ‘progressing’. Similarly they can be used to predict what might happen. For these reasons, social indicators are an important aspect of policy-related studies, and are widely used by governments. There is a well-defined area of research and a specialist scientific journal dedicated to the derivation and discussion of satisfactory social indicators. See also INDEX.

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