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Official International Statistics. AMANDA WAKARUK Government Information Librarian University of Alberta Libraries WISLL 2013. The 5 Ws & 1 H. I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.

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official international statistics

Official International Statistics

AMANDA WAKARUK

Government Information Librarian

University of Alberta Libraries

WISLL 2013

the 5 ws 1 h
The 5 Ws & 1 H

I keep six honest serving-men(They taught me all I knew);Their names are What and Why and WhenAnd How and Where and Who.

Rudyard Kipling. The Elephant’s Child. Just So Stories.

reordering the 5ws 1h of international statistics
Reordering the 5Ws & 1H of International Statistics

WHY are international statistics important?

What are theY made of?

Who compiles them?

When did this all start?

Where do I go to find them?

How do I work with them?

why are international statistics important

“the share of countries that are democracies has risen from less than a third to three-fifths [since 1970]. The 2011 Arab Spring marked another leap forward, appearing to end decades of autocratic rule for some 100 million people”

Human Development Report 2011. United Nations Development Programme. 2011, pg. 13.

WHY are international statistics important?

Statistics help us make sense of our world.

why are international statistics important1

“Since the 1980s AIDS has slashed life expectancy in Southern Africa… in the most affected countries life expectancy is now below 51 years; in Lesotho it stands at 46—similar to that in England before the Industrial Revolution.”

Human Development Report 2010. United Nations Development Programme. 2010, pg. 32.

WHY are international statistics important?

Statistics help us make sense of our world.

why are international statistics important2

“Canada’s overall crime rate is now 50 percent higher than the crime rate in the United States. Read that again slowly – it seems incredible, but it’s true.”

David Frum. “Reaping what we sow.” National Post. Jan 3, 2006. pg. A14.

WHY are international statistics important?

Statistics help us make sense of our world… critical thinking informs understanding.

Gardner, D. “Crime story depends on the teller.” The Ottawa Citizen, Feb 15, 2006. p. A13.

Selley, Chris. “Crime and Embellishment.” TartCider Blog. Jan 6, 2006.

http://www.tartcider.com/blog/archives/2006/01/crime_and_embel.html

why are international statistics important3

“Unemployment has risen in most countries. The increase is 116 percent in Chile, 77 percent in Estonia and Sweden…”

“Increase in World Unemployment.” The Times. April 1, 1933, pg. 9.

WHY are international statistics important?

Ideally, policy decisions are informed by reliable, timely statistics.

why are international statistics important4

“Each year since 1988, Chinese officials have reported a steady rise in the number of fish caught off China’s shores, even as fish stocks almost everywhere else have declined... according to the Food and Agriculture Organization... local officials passed inflated numbers to Beijing officials, who simply added them up without validating them, and sent them along to the United Nations.”

Piore, A. & Mooney, P. (2002, January 21). “China’s statistics are fishier than its oceans; why the PRC overcounts its annual catch.” Newsweek, 46.

WHY are international statistics important?

Ideally, policy decisions are informed by reliable, timely statistics…

… critical thinking informs understanding.

what are international statistics made of

data/statistics collected/compiled by national statistical agencies (NSAs):

    • Statistics Canada
    • US Bureaus (e.g., Census, Economic Analysis, Labor Stats, Justice Stats)
    • Institut Haïtien de Statistique et d’Informatique
    • National Bureau of Statistics of China
    • NSAs are listed on the United Nations Statistics Division web site
  • data sources
    • administrative
    • survey-based
WHAT are international statistics made of?
exercise 1
Exercise 1
  • Visit the web site of a National Statistical Office in your geographic area linked from the United Nations Statistics Division web site(http://unstats.un.org – National Statistical Offices, leftsidebar).
  • Find an interestingstatistic/statisticalproduct.
  • Note the following:
      • What statistics/statistical products are prominently displayed on the homepage, if any?
      • Can you determine if the statistics you found were derived from an administrative source or a survey?
what are international statistics made of1

Statistical Capacity (World Bank): the ability of countries to meet user needs for good quality statistics – usually those statistics that are consider to be “official” (i.e. those statistics produced by governments as a public good).

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwyCAtyNYHw&feature=player_embedded#at=432 (Dr. Michael Wesch)
  • National Statistical Offices are informed by IGO policies and assistance.
    • Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (United Nations Statistical Commission)
    • Handbook of Statistical Organization (United Nations Statistics Division)
    • Technical assistance, training, financial support.
WHAT are international statistics made of?
who compiles international statistics

International Governmental Organizations

    • United Nations
      • UN Statistical Commission, UN Statistical Division (UNData)
        • International Labour Organization
        • World Health Organization
        • World Bank (dataBank)
        • International Monetary Fund (IFS)
        • Human Development Programme(Human Development Report)
    • OECD
    • European Union(Eurostat, Bookshop)
WHO compiles international statistics?
when did this all start

1853- 1918: various statistical congress/society meetings

  • pre-1900: piecemeal at best; few reliable or relatively complete censuses at national level
    • 1790s: United States, Sweden, Holland, Norway, Denmark
    • 1800s: England, France
  • 1919-1946 : League of Nations
    • 1919: Conference on Intl Co‐Operation in Statistics
    • 1928: International Conference on Economic Statistics
    • International Labour Organization (ILO) and Health Organization (later WHO) established
    • LON Yearbook 1926-1944
      • http://www.library.northwestern.edu/govinfo/collections/league/stat.html
  • 1944: Dumbarton/Bretton Woods
    • GATT (WTO), IMF, World Bank
WHEN did this all start?

WWI: 1914-1918

WWII: 1939-1945

when did this all start1
WHEN did this all start?
  • 1946: United Nations Statistical Office
    • first comprehensive comparative per capita income figures
    • first comparable index numbers for industrial production
    • first method for comparing production figures from communist and capitalist countries
    • 1953: System of National Accounts… “one of the greatest social science research advances in this century and the foundation for most modern economic development” Farber, M. A. (1972, November 4). U.N. statistical office a growing success. New York Times, p. 11
  • 1965: UNDP
    • Human Development Report 1990
  • 2002: Inter‐Agency Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities
    • includes representatives from OECD, EU, WTO
    • reports to the Statistical Commission
  • 2007: “We have a system of global statistics but not a global statistical system.” (UNSD Seminar on the Evolution of National Statistical Systems)
slide18
“I had to become the Robin Hood for free data,” Dr. Hans Rosling“Making Data Dance.” The Economist, Dec 10, 2010.
  • gapminder.org
  • 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 minutes
  • Reducing Child Mortality
  • Statistics as a Public Good
    • objectives are to provide free access to global statistics, to educate users about the importance of statistics for evidence-based policy and decision-making and to assist National Statistical Offices to strengthen their data dissemination capabilities
gapminder documentation
Gapminder Documentation
  • Income per person (aka GDP per capita by Purchasing Power Parities)

http://www.gapminder.org/documentation/documentation/gapdoc001_v9.pdf

gapminder documentation1
Gapminder Documentation
  • Life expectancy at birth

http://www.gapminder.org/documentation/documentation/gapdoc004.pdf

undata
UNdata

data.un.org

where do i go to find international statistics
WHERE do I go to find international statistics?
  • Reference interview: time period, geography, indicator.
  • If it’s unfamiliar territory, start with a web/literature search.
      • Find the *source* of statistics noted in the literature. Check authority of compiler.
  • Use UNData to explore possible sources.
      • Check footnotes and fine print; mine the metadata for context and other publications/sources.

HOWdo I work with international statistics?

pulling it together example
Pulling it Together: Example

What percentage of people “go hungry” in Canada, the United States, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic?

Malnutrition on the rise24 December 2012 Dawn

“Malnutrition is increasingly becoming a global phenomenon. Between 2010-12 about 870 million people were reported to be chronically undernourished in the world according to The State of Food Insecurity in the World report released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN.”

MDG target to halve prevalence of hunger within reach, say UN

9 October 2012 Guardian.co.uk

“The international target to halve the prevalence of hunger in the world is within reach, the UN said on Tuesday, after publishing figures suggesting global progress on reducing hunger has been better than previously thought.”

UN revises world hunger figures, blames flawed method, data for faulty 1 billion estimate 9 October 2012 Associated Press

“The United Nations said Tuesday its 2009 headline-grabbing announcement that 1 billion people in the world were hungry was off-target and that the number is actually more like 870 million.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization blamed flawed methodology and poor data for the bum projection, and said it now uses a much more accurate set of parameters and statistics to calculate its annual estimate of the world's hungry.”

undata1
UNdata

data.un.org

exercise 2 undata
Exercise 2: UNData

Use http://data.un.org/ to answer the following:

  • Which three countries generated the most hazardous waste in 1999 and 2008?
  • According to the National Sporting Goods Association, people in the United States spent an estimated $2,101,000,000 on fishing tackle in 2011*. How many countries had a national income in 2011 less than this amount? (Use GNI, Atlas method, constant $US)
  • How many refugees who found asylum in Germany identified Canada as their country of origin in 2011? How many refugees who found asylum in Canada identified Germany as their country of origin in 2011?

* http://www.nsga.org/files/public/2008-2012_Consumer_Equipment_Purchases_by_Sport_web.pdf

exercise 3 world development indicators
Exercise 3: World Development Indicators

Use WDI via worldbank.org to help answer the questions at right:

where else can i go to find international statistics

United Nations Specialized Agencies, Programmes and Funds, Other Entities, etc.

    • http://www.un.org/en/aboutun/structure/index.shtml
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    • http://www.oecd.org/ (“statistics” link at top)
  • Eurostat and EU Bookshop
    • http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/
    • http://bookshop.europa.eu/eubookshop/index.action
  • National Statistical Agencies
    • http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/inter-natlinks/sd_natstat.asp
  • Google Search (& Scholar): public data statistics
  • Periodical Indexes and Databases (e.g., Statistical Insight, AccessUN, CIAO, PAIS, Academic Search Complete, CBCA)
  • Mitchell, B.R. (2007). International Historical Statistics, 1750-2005. 6th edition. 3 vols. New York: Palgrave.
Where else can I go to find international statistics?
where can i go for help

International Documents Task Force, Government Documents Roundtable (American Library Association) listserv: INTL-doc

    • http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/godort/taskforces/internationaldocuments/intldoc.cfm
  • Your WISLL friends!
Where can I go for help?
further reading
Further Reading

Andreas, P. (2010). Sex, drugs, and body counts: the politics of numbers in global crime and conflict. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Busby, L. A. (1994). Statistical data dissemination: The experience of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Journal of Government Information, 21(5), 403-412.

Cheung, P. (2007, April 26). Millennium: big effort has produced statistical results. Nature, 446(7139), 974.

Cohen, I. B. (2005). The triumph of numbers: how counting shaped modern life. New York, NY : W.W. Norton.

Farber, M. A. (1972, November 4). U.N. statistical office a growing success. New York Times, p. 11.

Gardner, D. (2006, February 15). Crime story depends on the teller. The Ottawa Citizen, p. A13.

Giovannini, E. (2004, November 11). Sounder numbers equal a healthier democracy. Financial Times, p. 15.

McNeil, D. G. (2007, November 20). U.N. agency to say it overstated extent of HIV cases by millions. New York Times, p. A1.

Millennium. (2007, March 22). Millennium development holes. Nature, 446(7134), 347.

OECD (2012). OECD Work on statistics. http://www.oecd.org/std/oecdworkonstatistics.htm

Piore, A. & Mooney, P. (2002, January 21). China’s statistics are fishier than its oceans; why the PRC overcounts its annual catch. Newsweek, 46.

Ruger, P. (2005). The changing role of the World Bank in global health. American Journal of Public Health, 95(1), pp. 60-70.

Starr, P. (1987). The Sociology of Official Statistics. (W. Alonso & P. Starr, Eds.). In The Politics of Numbers (pp. 7-57). New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

United Nations Statistics Division (2012). Major work areas and accomplishments: Advancing the global statistical system. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/brochures/UNSD_Brochure.pdf

Ward, M. (2004). Quantifying the world : UN ideas and statistics. Bloomington, IA : Indiana University Press.

the 5ws 1h of international statistics
The 5Ws & 1H of International Statistics

WHY are international statistics important?

What are theY made of?

Who compiles them?

When did this all start?

Where do I go to find them?

How do I work with them?

the 5ws 1h of this presentation
The 5Ws & 1H of This Presentation

WHY ISN’T EVERYONE EXCITED ABOUT INTERNATIONAL STATISTICS?

What DID I DO WITHOUT THEM?

Who Can I trust to produce them?

When Can I start using them?

Where can I integrate them into classroom/desk work?

How do I share this with my colleagues?

questions
Questions?

Amanda wakaruk, MLIS, MES

Government INFORMATION librarian

University of albErta

Amanda.wakaruk@ualberta.ca