Québec Progress Indicators: a look at well-being and national wealth
Québec, June 13, 2022. – How can a society’s progress be measured in a way that takes into account what matters to people, such as health, education, the environment, and material conditions? This is the thorough exercise carried out by the Institut de la statistique du Québec with the Québec Progress Indicators.
These 15 indicators measure progress in a multi-dimensional way as a complement to gross domestic product (GDP). They take into account inequalities and the sustainability of human activity. The Institut’s proposal is part of a movement driven by international organizations and statistical agencies and is guided by the need to better monitor the evolution and sustainability of the well-being of individuals.
What has progressed in Québec?
Québec society has evolved positively in many respects: the employment rate and personal income have increased in the past 16 years, and poverty has decreased since 2010. Air quality has improved since 2009, although local problems remain. Also, the severity of police-reported crime has declined over the past 16 years, indicating an improvement in personal safety.
Secondary students’ socio-economic background continues to be associated with their likelihood of graduating, among other things. Although these inequalities of opportunity persist, they have decreased over the past decade. In addition, the proportion of young adults aged 24–35 with a postsecondary diploma is up and the life expectancy of the population has increased, both signs that human capital is growing.
Social capital, measured based on the level of trust people have in each other, has increased between 2003 and 2020. Women’s representation in politics has improved: although they remained under-represented among elected officials in 2021, their presence as members of parliament and mayors has increased since 2006.
The great risk: climate instability
However, these favourable trends for progress are evolving against a backdrop of uncertainty, particularly due to climate instability. The magnitude of temperature anomalies has increased over the past 100 years, and since 1998 there has been an unbroken series of years warmer than the 20th-century average.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Québec have fluctuated, but did not decrease between 2009 and 2019, contrary to what was expected to contain climate change.
How does Québec compare to the rest of Canada?
Most of the progress indicators selected allow for comparisons with the rest of Canada. Québec has better results than the rest of Canada for several aspects of well-being (poverty, employment, crime). However, personal income is lower in Québec.
Economic capital (infrastructures and other fixed non-residential assets, net worth of governments) has a higher value in the rest of Canada, but human capital (post-secondary graduation and life expectancy) is stronger in Québec. While trust in others is more prevalent in the rest of Canada, per-capita GHG emissions are lower in Québec, and women are better represented in politics.
These are just a few of the results presented in the first analysis carried out based on the Québec Progress Indicators.
An evolving process
The 15 indicators launched today were selected after a rigorous process. To learn more about the selection criteria used by the Institut, consult the Cadre conceptuel et méthodologique des indicateurs de progrès du Québec [in French only].
The measurement of progress proposed by the Institut is part of an evolving process. Consequently, members of the public are invited to leave their comments using the form available on the Québec Progress Indicators web page.
The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.
Information and Documentation Centre
or 1-800-463-4090 (toll-free in Canada and the United States)