Vital state-istics - Journal | Strategic Design Consultancy | Folk


New work

Vital state-istics
Visualising social progress across Australian states and territories


The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) has launched the second iteration of its Australian Social Progress Index (ASPI) data visualisation tool.

Folk worked with CSI in 2019 to build the original tool which tracked the social progress of Australian states and territories across a number of indicators from years 2015 through to 2018. The latest version of the tool adds a recalculated index, including data for 2019, 2020 and 2021 and also includes a number of upgrades to the user interface and dynamicity of the tool which make for a more interactive and engaging experience. 

Beyond GDP alone, Australia needs an index that shows how the people and environment in each of our states and territories are faring. We need a measure of quality of life for people across the country. The Social Progress Index gives an insight into how well communities are able to support the basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunities for its citizens.

Dr Megan Weir. Research and Evaluation Director
(Acting)/Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Social Impact

Image Components

At a glance

The default mode of the tool gives an account of the overall ASPI progress of Australian states and territories in 2021: The Australian Capital Territory leads the way with a score of 69.76 (out of a possible 100); This overall score takes into account three core dimensions (Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity) which are in turn driven by a number of components and indicators that can be further explored in the Score by State section of the tool. 

A deeper dive

The Score by State section of the tool allows users to get a deeper understanding of specific state and territory scores for a given year (2015 - 2021). The highest and lowest scores are elaborated on with dynamic text driven by content taken from the ASPI report methodology.

For instance, in 2021 Victoria rated highest for Water & Sanitation with a score of 97.10, and lowest for Inclusiveness with a score of 35.15. If a user wants to understand what is driving the low Inclusiveness score they can now interact with the ‘tooltip’ icon and find that the indicators that define this dimension are:

  • Gender pay gaps
  • Gender employment underutilisation
  • Proportion of people who volunteer
  • Satisfaction with connection to community

These scores represent an aggregation of data points from other research which is then  normalised for comparability - Gender pay gaps (as an example) use data from the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s Average Weekly Earnings reports. 

Plotting the trends

The third function of the tool allows users to examine trends across all state and territories for all tracked years which allows for some interesting observations - Access to Basic Knowledge for example, has worsened for all states and territories when 2015 and 2021 are compared, though on the brighter side of things Foundations of Wellbeing (the overall dimension of Access to Basic Knowledge) has improved.

Upgrading the tool for CSI has been a rewarding process for Folk and we look forward to watching the tool grow as ASPI continues to monitor social progress in Australia.

The ASPI is produced in partnership with the Social Progress Imperative which is currently tracking and ranking the social progress of 169 countries (Australia is currently ranked 12th).

Written by:
Casimir Nolan,
Senior Digital Strategist