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Improving Official Statistics

Volume 39/3 September 2023

The Statistical Journal of the IAOS can be read via the printed version and online via the official statistics website: www.officialstatistics.com. The website offers beyond the online versions of the articles also a discussion platform, news, and interviews.

The latest version of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS (SJIAOS)

Volume 39, no. 3.


The content of the issue in more detail:

This issue of the Journal (the first one for Mr. Pietro Gennari as Editor-in-Chief) opens with two interesting Interviews.

The first interview, carried out by Pieter Everaers, is with Dominik Rozkrut, the new President of the IAOS for the biennium 2023-2025. In this interview, we learn more about Dominik’s professional background, his experience as an official statistician and the initiatives undertaken as President of Statistics Poland during the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. We also get to know in more detail his plans as President of the IAOS, supporting the mission of building and maintaining trust in official statistics.

The second interview, conducted by Ivo Havinga, is with Reimund Mink, a former employee of the European Central Bank, who has recently published the book “Official Statistics – A Plaything of Politics?: On the interaction of Politics, Official Statistics, and Ethical Principles”. The book provides a detailed account of the cases of unacceptable and unethical political interference in the production of official statistics he experienced in his professional career as a government finance statistician, not only in the European context but also in some non-European countries. The book is also a rich source for dedicated reflections and lessons on the implementation of the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics from a human rights perspective.

The second section of the Journal, dedicated to The Impact of COVID-19 on Official Statistics, a topic present in every issue since 2020, features an article that shows how central banks are fundamentally rethinking the way data should be produced and used in the “new normal” state after the pandemic, by relying more heavily on data science, making a better use of the large amount of the available micro-level information, adapting statistical frameworks to meet evolving policy objectives and user needs, and cooperating closely with other relevant stakeholders.

The third section collects six articles on different Specific Statistical Domains: from population projections using categories that go beyond the woman/man distinction, to register-based information system for mortality statistics; from the concept of social cohesion and its measurement issue, to the impact of inflation on households’ consumption patterns of different income groups at various geographical level in Iran; from the increasing economic integration of U.S. industries during the period 1939–1958, to the level of trade integration between Ukraine and the EU countries in recent years.

The fourth section of the Journal addresses topics related to Data Sources, Statistical Methodologies and Techniques covering various challenges faced by official statisticians in the various stages of the statistical production process: from the opportunity of using prefilled forms in business surveys, to the presence of systematic errors in self-reported industry classification codes on business tax forms; from the adoption of a new test to detect bubbles in financial time series, to the Methodological challenges in Compiling an inclusive growth index; from the use of Small area estimation models to better estimate at district level household participation rates in insurance programmes against the risk of losses from natural disasters, to the testing of a new search engine system based on neural networks for increasing the accessibility of official statistics.

The issue ends with a regular update on the open discussions on the SJIAOS discussion platform www.officialstatistics.com, and a brief look into the next two issues of the Journal.

Vol 39/2
Special theme:
Special theme: Statistics on Governance, Peace and Security (Praia Group)
Manuscript Author(s)
Editorial Pieter Everaers
Interview with George Sciadas, about his book ‘Number Savvy: From the Invention of Numbers to the Future of Data’ Walter Radermacher, George Sciadas
The impact of COVID-19 on Official statistics
Governments measure during the Covid crisis and statistical implications in national accounts: the case of tax deferrals Luisa Sciandra, Susanna Riccioni
Statistics on Governance, Peace and Security
Guest editorial Jean-LucLTavernier, Joao Cardoso
General introduction to the special issue Governance Statistics and the UN Praia City Group Thomas. Calvo, Jean-Pierre Cling, Mireille Razafindrakato, Francois Roubaud, A. Sougane
Now is the Time to Close Gaps in Governance Statistics – And the Praia Group is ready for the challenge Marie Laberge, Joao de Pina Cardoso, Francois Roubaud, Arvinn Gadgil
Public sector governance statistics in Brazil. Challenges and perspectives, and focus on transparency Leonardo Athias, Luanda Botelho
An annual multi-mode survey to measure victimisation in France T. Razafindranovona, Sandra Zilloniz, Helene Guedj
Measuring violence in war-torn countries: a political challenge for development, peace and security M.-A. Pérouse de Montclos
Perceptions and Experiences in Madagascar: Origins of Differences in Terms of Corruption, Criminal Violence and Discrimination Yvan Andriameva Assany, Faly Hery Rakotomanana
Overview of discrimination in Cameroon in 2014: between perception and experience, predominance of the phenomenon G.F. Ndeffo, R. Niekou, J. Tedou
Youth and civic participation in Côte d’Ivoire Agodio C.J. Boga
Sense of Insecurity and Profile of Crime Victims in Mali from 2014 to 2020 S. Cissé, A. Coulibaly, D.A. Fané, S. Haïïdara, A. Sougané
Measuring Governance, Democracy and Participation: Lessons from Two Decades of Experience in Peru Javier Herrera, Nancy Hidalgo, Francois Roubaud, Mireille Razafindrakato
Governance of Official Statistics
Statistical quality assurance and the new data ecosystem and implications of the difference between data and statistics Matthias Reister
AI Tools: A Powerful New Weapon to Combat the Misuse of Statistics Kate Wilkinson, Emily Barrington
Quality Framework for combining survey, administrative and big data for official statistics Yvonne A.P.M. Gootzen, Piet Days, Arnout van Delden
When Is There Enough Data to Create a Global Statistic? Daniel Mahler, Umar Serajuddin, Hiroko Made
Data sources, methodologies and techniques  
Data Reconciliation and Estimation in an Agricultural Survey Habtamu Kassa Benecha, Denise A Abreu, Rachael Jennings, Linda J Young
Integration of remote sensing data into national statistical office sampling designs for agriculture Luis Ambrosio, Luis Iglesias, Carmen Marin, Nicolas Deffense
Perception of insecurity in municipalities of Mexico. A Small Area Estimation approach Mario Santillana, José Antonio Gallegos, Alma Itzel Garcia, Elizabeth Diaz, Daniel Gutiérrez, Nancy Letticia Gonzalez
Developing and hosting web data apps in R programming for official statistics Stratos Moschidis, Athanasios Thanapoulos, Christina Karamichalakou
Automatizing model selection in an annual review of seasonal adjustment: a machine learning inspired approach Yingfu Xie
Discussion platform
16 th discussion P.C.J. Everaers

SJIAOS Discussions

Launch of the 17th discussion:

With the release of this issue of the Journal (September 2023) we launch the 17th discussion forum on “Artificial intelligence: an opportunity, a challenge or a threat for official statistics?”. You are all invited to provide your opinion on the impact of AI on the production and, especially, on the use of official statistics.

Launch of the 16th discussion:

With the release of this issue of the Journal (June 2023), the 16th discussion will be opened. This discussion ‘the impact of AI and the availability of data in the so-called Data ecosystem on the development of official statistics’ will build on the reflection in the editorial in this June issue and invites readers to react with their opinion on how far and in what direction the governance of official statistics will change thanks to these developments. The readers are specifically invited to sketch in a maximum of 500 words how in their opinion the (national) statical offices in 2030 are functioning. The contributors are free to choose an emphasis for the production and dissemination but are equally invited to reflect on the governance structures in official statistics in 2030.

The discussion will be opened around the end of June on the SJIAOS discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com).

Several other discussions are still also online on the SJIAOS Discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com). I specifically invite you to also look at the 13th discussion and the Extra discussion.

A special discussion on the challenges of “datafied” societies.

In parallel to the 13th discussion, a special discussion was launched on the .challenges that our “datafied” societies pose to Official Statistics. This discussion follows the establishment in April 2022, during the IAOS bi-annual Conference, of the “Krakow Working Group”. The main points arising from this discussion will constitute useful inputs to the deliberations of the Group. The Krakow Working Group will report on the advancement of its work at the IAOS Conference in Zambia in April 2023 and the ISI Congress in Ottawa in July 2023.   

The statements for this discussion have come online on the SJIAOS discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com) around mid-September 2022.

The 15th SJIAOS discussion ‘Success, failures, challenges and opportunities for official statistics in the development and implementation of the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This discussion invites readers to react to the statement that official statistics, via endorsing the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data at the UNSC in 2017, on the one hand, have greatly benefited in strong support for developing new methodologies and indicators, but the other hand is confronted with unrealistic expectations concerning several other indicators, the required data, their implementation in general and regional coverage.

The leading question to the discussion is ‘did the challenge of developing the indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals give a boost to Official Statistics or was it a burden?’ Detailed questions will focus on the successes, failures and more specifically the challenges, obstacles and opportunities. The readers are invited to the 15th discussion, launched on the SJIAOS discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com) either react with supporting or disagreeing arguments to this reflection, examples of successes, failures, and suggestions on how to tackle challenges.

The discussion will be opened around the beginning of May on the SJIAOS discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com).

The 14th discussion: How can Official Statistics find a way out of the fog?

The discussion statements can be found at: https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/14th-discussion-how-can-official-statistics-find-way-out-fog 

With the release of the December 2022 issue, also the 14th discussion was opened. This discussion ‘How can Official Statistics find a way out of the fog?, builds on the Editorial in the December issue, inviting readers to react to the statement that the official statistics are currently confused, at a loss, regarding the strategies and direction. Readers are invited to either react with supporting or disagreeing arguments to this statement or to contribute with suggestions on how to solve this situation.

The discussion was opened around mid-December on the SJIAOS discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com).

The 13th discussion: The roles and positions of International Statistical Organizations.

The discussion statements can be found at: https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/13th-discussion-role-and-position-of-international-statistical-organizations

With the release of the September 2022 issue of the Journal, the 13th discussion was opened online mid-November 2022.

This discussion ‘The roles and position of International Statistical Organizations’ builds on the manuscripts in the September special issue with contributions from International Statistical Organizations.

The discussion focuses on the global governance of official statistics and the role and position of International Statistical Organisations. The statements invite the readers to reflect on the role and value of (statistical) data, their role as a public good and the role of the UN  member states, the International Statistical Organizations and the UN Statistical Commission in the development and management of official statistics.

The 12th discussion: The positive and negative aspects of ‘standardization’ in official statistics.


With the release of the June 2022 issue of the Journal (Vol 38, (2022), Nr 2), the 12th discussion was opened. This discussion is triggered by the section on ‘Standards, guidelines and recommendations’  in this specific issue.

The statements in the discussion to be commented on, question if the frequent use of cross-national comparisons dismisses the cultural specificities of a country or region. It is also relevant to ask if the standards that are used to produce the indicators for cross-national comparisons are sufficiently implemented to allow for valid comparisons. And in general, one might question if there is a misfit between the emphasis on and practice of cross-national comparisons by international organizations and the attention to the level and awareness of the implementation of the standards used to produce the indicators on the country level.

The 11th discussion:  Large international projects on the development of official statistics, the 50×2030 Initiative as an example.


With the release of the March 2022 issue of the Journal, the 11th discussion was opened. This discussion is triggered by the special section concerning the 50×2030 Initiative, as presented in this issue (Vol 38, (2022) Nr 1) via seven manuscripts and a guest editorial.

The 50×2030 Initiative to close the agricultural data gap is a multi-partner program that addresses current shortcomings in the quality and availability of agricultural data by transforming country data systems in 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America by 2030. The initiative is also one of the largest international projects on the development of statistics ever with planned costs of 500 million US dollars.

In the discussion, via a set of thought-provoking statements, the ambitions, structure, and content of the 50×2030 initiative will be proposed for reflection, as well as the role, structure, and governance aspects of such large international projects.

The 10th discussion: ‘Statistics on difficult to measure population groups: challenges to leave no-one not included is triggered by the manuscript ‘Improving official statistics on stateless people: challenges, solutions, and the road ahead, by Mary Strode (and Melanie Khanna in Volume 37 (2021)  Nr 4).


The discussion statements will concentrate on the need for such statistical information, the challenges in collecting them as well as aspects of confidentiality and protection in data sharing and it will stress the importance of data being comparable over contexts and time and using the same definitions, concepts, questions, and methodologies. The discussion will also invite comments on the experiences gained and result achieved in developing guidelines for measuring and developing statistics for difficult-to-measure groups.

The ninth discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform is based on seven statements on ‘New Developments in Training in Official Statistics.


In the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, Volume 37 (2021) Nr. 3, on ‘New Developments in Training in Official Statistics’  the recent trends in training in official statistics are discussed in 22 manuscripts. The need and rationale for training in official statistics and the necessity to anticipate recent developments, the requirements needed for training in Data Science,  a method for assessing the type and content of this demand for training, an overview of existing training in official statistics initiatives,  general trends in learning and training, and a selection of examples of training in domains of official statistics or regions.

The eighth discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform focuses on the UN Fundamental Principles for Official Statistics.


This discussion builds on one hand on the manuscript ‘Assessing compliance with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics: A Maturity Model for Continuous Improvement’ complementing the Fundamental Principles with the assessment of their compliance by countries and regions based on a Maturity Model for Continuous Improvement, illustrating the acceptance of this main framework for high-quality statistics as a still suitable instrument. On the other hand, during the last decennium, there were many events, where the principles were consciously or unconsciously ignored.

The objective of the discussion is twofold: first to generate knowledge and experience with the implementation, application, and effectiveness of the Fundamental Principles, and second to inquire especially about major improvements, both to the Fundamental Principles themselves as well as to the compliance and the enforcement of compliance.

You are invited to contribute to the discussions on: www.officialstatistics.com

The Statistical Journal of the IAOS

The flagship of the IAOS is the ‘Statistical Journal of the IAOS’. The Journal is expected to be widely circulated and subscribed to by individuals and institutions in all parts of the world. The journal has four regular issues per year, each within average around 25 articles focusing on current and emerging issues and challenges related to the management, production and use of official statistics and related public policy matters. The ‘Journal’  is available on-line and via a printed publication and is supported by a website www.officialstatistics.com.

Beyond the link to the on-line version of the Journal the website provides a permanent platform for news, information on events. A main feature of the website is the discussion platform. This discussion platform facilitates in parallel to and based on articles in the Journal discussions on important topics for official statistics.

Submit a Paper

The success of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS depends upon the contributions of IAOS members and authors. All papers are subject to anonymous review. For a full description of the publication’s editorial aims and scope, and how to submit manuscripts, go to www.officialstatistics.com or to IOSPress. For more information on the journal in general, submission, review and revision procedures or specific manuscripts, do not hesitate to contact the Editor in Chief, Pieter Everaers at pevssjiaos@gmail.com.

Papers are expected to be of wide interest to readers. Such papers may or may not contain strictly original material. All papers are refereed. The journal has an Editor-in-Chief who is responsible for ensuring its content and quality.  For the review process he is supported by an editorial board of circa 30 eminent official statisticians and for the strategy of the Journal by a small Advisory Board The journal should publish papers of wide interest to both users and producers of official statistics. The journal should encourage papers with a focus on the basic principles for official statistics covering areas such as the importance of applying the best scientific methods, the need for statistical independence, balancing the needs of users with the burden on respondents, the continuing challenges around confidentiality, and the growing need for consistency and coherence across statistical domains and over time and for international comparability. 

SJIAOS Access for IAOS Members

IAOS members have unlimited online access to all the articles in the SJIAOS, including previous issues. Staff from International Organizations that are institutional members of the ISI/IAOS can be a member of IAOS and have free access to the Journal for an annual fee of 10 euros.

Members are asked to register themselves at IOS Press (go to the register tab) and once done, to send an email to Ms. Kim Willems (k.willemsn@iospress.nl). She will activate your complimentary access upon receiving your email.

For more information contact Margaret de Ruiter-Molloy at the ISI membership office at m.deruitermolloy@cbs.nl.

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