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OECD Social Indicators>Social cohesion

Social cohesion

Social cohesion has both positive and negative dimensions. On the positive side, it includes people's participation into community life and their attitudes to others. On the negative side, lack of social cohesion may be revealed by a variety of pathologies such as suicides, risky behaviours or crime.

Dimensions of this framework

  • Bullying

    Bullying includes hitting and teasing, as well as more passive forms such as exclusion from conversations and play. Bullying does not include fighting between equally strong children. The broad definition of bullying does not show which forms are most prevalent in which country, or the duration and intensity of bullying.

    Data are drawn from school-based samples from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey. Bullying estimates are calculated using reported rates of bullying and being bullied weighted by sample numbers for 11-, 13- and 15-year-old boys and girls.

  • Crime victimisation

    Crime comparisons between countries can be made via surveys designed to assess experience with actual criminal victimisation. Crime statistics are based on the 2005 International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS). The ICVS focuses on ten types of "conventional" crimes. Respondents are asked about victimisation by these conventional crimes that they themselves or their households experienced. These crimes cover vehicle-related crimes, burglary, theft of personal property, and contact crimes.
  • Life satisfaction

    The main indicator of life satisfaction used by the OECD countries is average country score. The indicator is from the Gallup World Poll 2006 that is based on nationally representative samples of people aged 15 years and older. The Gallup World Poll asks respondents to "image an eleven-rung ladder where the bottom (0) represents the worst possible life for you and the top (10) represents the best possible life for you. On which step of the ladder do you personally stand at the present time?". The same questionnaire is used in countries.
  • Risky behaviour

    Risky behaviour refers to actions undertaken by children which are normally considered adult behaviours and can negatively affect their lives. Levels of risky behaviour in each country show the extent to which children are receiving suitable guardianship or information regarding age appropriate activities.

    Risky behaviour indicators include rates and trends of self-reported excessive drinking and regular smoking in early adolescence. As well, risky behaviour includes self-reported rates of early sexual experiences, and non-use of condoms to protect unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Data for risky behaviour indicators are taken from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey (HBSC).

  • Suicides

    Data on suicide rates are based on official registers on causes of death. They are standardised using the OECD population structure of 1980, accounting for changes in the age structure across countries and over time. Suicide rates are expressed in deaths per 100, 000 individuals.

    Countries have different procedures for recording suicide as the underlying cause of death, despite the development of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), and procedures may have changed over time. In addition, suicide may be under-reported because of societal stigma attached to suicide. This socio-cultural norm may vary across countries and over time.

  • Work satisfaction

    The basic indicator of work satisfaction is the percentage of all employees reporting that they felt "completely", "very" or "fairly" satisfied in their main job. Measures of work satisfaction are taken from Wave III of the International Social Science Programme (ISSP) The survey is addressed to people aged 16 and over working either as an employee or as a self-employed. 21 OECD countries participated in the latest wave of survey. The survey has high and variable rates of non-response between countries and over time, as well as different country sampling frames, all of which may undermine comparability.