A plethora of what are loosely described as social and political indicators of well-being exist. Both the range and country coverage of these indicators has increased appreciably in recent years. In this paper we ask what contribution these indicators can make towards our understanding of human well-being. There is currently a vast array of political and social indicators of development. These measures include information on access to services, housing, environmental degradation, income, social participation, inequalities, and time use; while political indicators include measures of political participation, civil liberties, and human and labour rights. While some of these indicators reflect the progress countries are making towards attaining fundamental developmental goals, with several being used to assess progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (in particular measures of income, health, and education status) others act as more intermediate indicators of progress. This paper critically surveys the range of social and political indicators of development currently available focussing particularly on non-income based social and political indicators of well-being.
well-being poverty Millennium Development Goals health education