Beginners:Statistical concept - What are official statistics?

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This page is part of Statistics 4 beginners, a section in Statistics Explained where statistical indicators and concepts are explained in an simple way to make the world of statistics a bit easier both for pupils and students as well as for all those with an interest in statistics.

Official statistics are statistics produced within a national statistical system. National statistical systems include statistical organisations and units within a country that jointly collect, process and disseminate official statistics on behalf of the national government. Official statistics are usually collected within a legal framework, and in accordance with basic principles which ensure minimum professional standards, such as independency and objectivity. For example for the European Union, the legal framework is based on the European regulation (EC) No 223/2009 and the set of principles are called the European Statistics Code of Practice.

Official statistics serve as a basis for decisions, for example, for politicians and policy makers: democratic societies cannot function properly without a solid basis of reliable and objective statistics.

Non-official statistics include statistics collected and published by other bodies.