By Seth Grimes, Sponsored by Space-Time Research
The Importance of Official Statistics
Governments collect, produce, and disseminate a huge volume and variety of data in the course of their operations. While much of this data relates to government administration — to budgeting, planning, and program performance — it is official statistics that most capture our interest. These statistics —demographic, economic, and social information — collectively paint hard-data local and national portraits of people and businesses. They motivate and justify government spending and private-sector investment alike.
Official statistics cover the gamut of societal concerns. Major sectors include agriculture, commerce, crime, education, health, housing, poverty, and transportation. Statistics are collected from censuses, surveys, and routine operational reports. They constitute a form of Public Intelligence, not only about public concerns but also of great interest to the public.