Socioeconomic reporting needs a normative evaluation standard for social development at the micro level of persons and households. What participation stands for and how it can be measured is therefore an integral part of the report. Such an evaluation standard should derive from the critical adoption of selected approaches: the German research tradition concerning the –real-life situation, Amartya Sen’s internationally used ‘capabilities’ concept and the approaches concerning social exclusion and social vulnerability. The different systemic approaches converge at the question of how economic, welfare state-related and personal resources of individuals and households can be used for the implantation of an individually desired and socially feasible way of life and how much scope for action individuals would have in it.

The German word for participation is Teilhabe and includes next to participation social inclusion. Therefore, when using the word participation, the concept of social inclusion is included.