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World Statistic Day, 2015

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October 20, 2015
The world around us is changing rapidly – the data revolution has reshaped our lives. To benefit from this 'globalization' we have to speak its language. Words like big data, metadata, spatial data, paradata, tweets, hash-tag and more are now part of our everyday language.

As official statisticians, we increasingly have to look beyond the structured data of our own making and utilize unstructured data supplied by others. We have no choice if we are to meet the demands of the wider and wider spectrum of new users and the traditional stakeholders of the National Statistical Offices (NSOs).

The 2015 World Statistics Day challenge for Official Statistics, then, is how we transform our traditional operations from ones where there was a ‘lack of data,’ to ones where sometimes there are ‘huge volumes of data’ — from the data sparse world of seemingly just yesterday to today’s data dense world.

This requires a lot of new learning by us and by our customers. We need to intelligently decide on the plethora of data now at hand. Data presentation, also, can become a determining factor on who will use our data. Traditional ways of presenting data no longer meet the needs of many modern users. Graphical displays are replacing tables, dynamic forms are replacing static ones.

Still, we need to fall back on our Fundamental Statistical Principles. With the potential contradictions surrounding the globalization that we are facing, three core goals must remain our top priorities. These are ‘users’, ‘rigorous statistics’ and ‘partnerships with the private sector.’ We must always meet user needs efficiently and ethically. We must continue the rigorous application of better and better statistical methods; and, finally, we must aggressively expand partnerships with the private sector and our fellow NSOs to contain and ever reduce costs.

The NSOs must play an active role in the global discussion and ensure the engagement of our users and partners and in the process deliver better statistics for better lives!

Ms. Ola Awad, President
International Association for Official Statistics