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Social indicators are measurements taken over time to track the course of a social problem; for example, school dropout rates or teen pregnancy rates. Social indicators are usually statistics, often longitudinal, that provide a picture of where a society or collective stands with respect to social values and goals. They can be social facts, such as unemployment rate or perinatal mortality rate, or more subjective, such as job satisfaction or happiness. Two common purposes for developing social indicators are to monitor social change and to measure the public welfare. Social indicator research is relatively recent, having become most formalized only in the mid-1960s. In the United States, the development of social indicators was born of concerns about the impact of the American space program on ...

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