Social indicators are an important tool for evaluating a country's level of social development and for assessing the impact of policy. Such indicators are already in use in investigating poverty and social exclusion in several European countries and have begun to play a significant role in advancing the social dimension of the EU as a whole. The purpose of this book is to make a scientific contribution to the development of social indicators for the purposes of European policy-making. It considers the principles underlying the construction of policy-relevant indicators, the definition of indicators, and the issues that arise in their implementation, including that of the statistical data required. It seeks to bring together theoretical and methodological methods in the measurement of poverty/social exclusion with the empirical practice of social policy. The experience of member states is reviewed, including an assessment of the National Action Plans on Social Inclusion submitted for the first time in June 2001 by the 15 EU governments. The key areas covered by the book are poverty, including its intensity and persistence, income inequality, non-monetary deprivation, low educational attainment, unemployment, joblessness, poor health, poor housing and homelessness, functional illiteracy and innumeracy, and restricted social participation. In each case, the book assesses the strengths and weaknesses of different indicators relevant to social inclusion in the EU, and makes recommendations for the indicators to be employed. The book is based on a report prepared at the request of the Belgian government, as part of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2001, and presented at a conference on ‘Indicators for Social Inclusion: Making Common EU Objectives Work’ held at Antwerp on 14–15 Sept 2001
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