Community indicators

Community indicators

Measuring wellbeing

In response to a growing appreciation that there is more to being successful than just boosting economic output, we monitor a broad range of factors that contribute to community wellbeing and sustainability.

Collectively, the suite of indicators and measures we monitor make up the community indicators framework that helps us gauge progress towards Sydney 2030.

Community indicators are used to develop social, cultural, environmental, governance and economic policy. They are sourced from a range of primary research efforts, such as City of Sydney surveys and records, and from secondary sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census and NSW Health surveys.

Updates are collected on an ongoing basis and frequency varies from 6-monthly to 5-year periods, depending on the data source. Data are compared against initial or ‘baseline’ measures and analysed for change over time.

Community indicators framework

The community indicators framework was developed in 2011 in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Futures (University of Technology, Sydney) and the McCaughey Research Centre (University of Melbourne).

The community indicators project is based on comprehensive research and international and local best practice. It went on public exhibition in early 2012, was amended in response to public feedback and adopted by Council later that year. The first edition of the report was populated and published in 2016.

You can download the framework and background report.

2019 report

The Community Wellbeing Indicators report has 2 main functions:

  1. A critical evidence-base on changing trends and issues affecting the community over time that can inform policy development and service provision investment planning.
  2. A source-book, highlighting primary datasets managed by the City itself and linking readers to the widely-distributed secondary sources used.

The report is not a scorecard for any particular service, policy or agency function.

The Community Wellbeing Indicators 2019 report includes over 120 measures tracking social progress since 2006. Around 30% of measures in the report are primary data not reported elsewhere – mostly collected from the City's resident surveys. Secondary data in the report mostly come from open-data repositories and reports from agencies such as NSW Health, Department of Education, Australian Bureau of Statistics and the City.

The 2019 report is the second full data-population of domains 1-4 of the framework:

  1. Healthy, safe and inclusive communities
  2. Culturally rich and vibrant communities
  3. Democratic and engaged communities
  4. Dynamic and resilient local economies

City targets and data relating to the 5th domain in the Community Indicators framework, Sustainable environments, can be found in the City of Sydney’s biannual Green Reports.

You can download the Community Wellbeing Indicators report.


Mari Jaervis
Senior Research Officer
02 9265 9333

Last updated: Tuesday, 12 November 2019