The role and use of official statistics in measuring wellbeing
We can draw on an increasing range of statistics when we want summary measures of personal wellbeing across a community or country, or if we are interested in broader measures of national wellbeing and progress. These include statistics published by national statistical offices or government ministries, which are designated as official statistics.
Is there anything, other than the status of their source, that distinguishes official statistics from non-official statistics, such as those published in academic research reports or by commercial social survey organisations?
In this paper, Professor Paul Allin explores the role and attributes of official statistics generally, and specifically in the measurement of personal and national wellbeing, in today’s crowded information space. Drawing on the United Nations’ fundamental principles for official statistics, we highlight the need to focus on the use and usefulness of official statistics in measuring wellbeing, and on the value of having statistics used by the public, businesses, non-governmental organisations as well as for public policy. We discuss some ways in which both the producers and the users of statistics can help increase the use and usefulness of all statistics needed for the public good.
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In 2021 we released a podcast episode with guests including John Pullinger, former National Statistician for the United Kingdom, on government policy and wellbeing. Listen to the episode here.