Part 2: signs and signals

National flags flying on flagpoles

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In Part 2, students explore and identify elements that combine to create wellbeing and consider how the level of wellbeing within a country can be assessed through the examination of key economic and social indicators.

Economic indicators measure the scope of economic development, including the processes and policies by which a nation improves the economic, political, and social wellbeing of its people. These can be broad measures such as the level of a country's gross domestic product (GDP) or specific measures such as the number of houses connected to electricity within the country.

Social indicators involve the interpretation of social trends and statistical measures and indexes to interpret the effectiveness of measures implemented to address wellbeing issues. These too can be viewed through a broad focus such as a calculation of the life expectancy of a population, or more specifically through measurement of rates of vaccination in children.

Learning objectives

Students will:

  • understand the constituent elements of wellbeing
  • investigate the economic, social, technological, political and environmental causes of spatial inequality globally
  • understand the concept of wellbeing indicators and their correlation to actual levels of, and progress toward, wellbeing at a national level
  • understand the distinction between economic and social indicators of wellbeing and identify, research and apply examples of each to assess levels of wellbeing
  • make predictions about levels of wellbeing based on interpretation of social and economic indicators.


  1. Activity 2.1: economic indicators of wellbeing
  2. Activity 2.2: social indicators of wellbeing
  3. Activity 2.3: how can wellbeing indicators be read as positive or negative?
  4. Activity 2.4: difference in levels of development between countries
  5. Activity 2.5: extension activity – indicators in practice