Ugrás a tartalomhoz


Renáta Németh, Dávid Simon


Types of indicators and indicator systems

Types of indicators and indicator systems

Types of indicators

  • Objective indicators describe the given phenomenon directly

    • One-variable objective indicator: simple raw indices, e.g. perinatal mortality

    • Multi-variable simple indicator: indicators that can be derived from a few other indicators. The most common examples are standardized indicators, e.g. per capita GDP

    • Multi-variable complex indicators that can be derived from a number of others, e.g. consumer goods price index

  • Proxy indicators: indicators that are indeed related to the sector in question but describe only one of its segments directly, while the experience is (and/or theory supports) that they can describe the whole sector rather reliably. E.g. perinatal mortality is often used as a proxy indicator of the development of the health care system in general

Types of indicator systems


  • UN Statistical Office, 1954 – the first attempt to describe the living standards of the population in a ’Social Report’

  • Consideration: the social phenomena described as ’living standards’ can be broken down into components:

    • family, household, schooling, employment, health status

    • which, in turn, can be statistically analysed separately

Component approach

  • A specific set of indices for each sector to give a general picture of the living standards, to provide information on basic changes in

    • demography,

    • labour force

    • incomes

    • consumption

    • transportation and

    • communication.

This is the earliest type of social indicator systems. It involves no theoretical model, its goal is purely descriptive.

  • the British system of indicators is the closest still used model:

    • Social Trends (Office for National Statistics, since 1970)

    • since 2010 only online

    • social and economical data from various government offices and other organisations

    • Topics

      • Health care

      • Education

      • Population

      • Lifestyle and involvement

Data available in 2011 at the website of the Office for National Statistics (UK):


Published 4 Dec 2009

Households and families

Published 4 Dec 2009

Labour market

Published 4 Dec 2009


Published 10 Feb 2011


Published 3 Feb 2011

Lifestyles and social participation

Published 27 Jan 2011

Income and wealth

Published 11 Nov 2010


Published 11 Nov 2010

Education and training

Published 2 July 2010


Published 2 July 2010


Published 2 July 2010

Crime and justice

Published 2 July 2010

Social protection

Published 2 July 2010

International comparisons

Published 11 Nov 2010


Published 11 Nov 2010

Resource approach

  • How to give the most systematic description of the distribution of wellbeing of society

  • How to capture statistically the unequalities of access to resources

  • Aka: living standars approach

The variables analysed in this paradigm come in two types

  • Resource variables:

    • economic (housing, wealth, income, savings, etc.)

    • education (schooling and qualifications), work environment

    • relationships, health status

  • Social group defining variables:

    • the demographical dimension (gender, age groups, family structure)

    • the social class dimension (professional groups, employment sectors, economic sectors)

    • the dimension of social groups ’at risk’ (uneducated, permanently unemployed, young and unemployed, etc.)

    • the dimension of regions and settlement types

  • E.g.: Sweden