How are figures calculated by CBS?
The Statistics Netherlands Act of 1996 stipulated that CBS must reduce the administrative burden (from survey taking) to a minimum and allowed CBS to access government key registers for statistical purposes.
In addition to these government key registers, CBS is also increasingly using business records. For example, annual reports from businesses to calculate the GDP, or data from energy companies on household and business energy consumption.
Combining data from a variety of registers creates new possibilities. Moreover, new data sources are essential in maintaining the quality of statistics. Over the past few years, more and more new data sources have emerged and methods of collection have become increasingly varied. Combining all these data sources in an innovative and reliable way creates greater possibilities to produce new, up-to-date, society-oriented and more detailed statistics. We do so with a keen eye for privacy and reliability.
The statistical process – step by step
- The question. It may be requests from local governments, semi-governmental institutes or from a ministry, for instance.
- Preparations. This phase contains several steps, starting with identifying what data are needed and what data are already available, such as data from PIVA (population register). PIVA-V is the central database available to authorised users. The next step is to determine whether any additional data are needed and identify their sources. Examples include registers and surveys. If there are no adequate existing sources, an additional survey may need to be prepared. In this survey, the focus is on sample design and sample method, among other things.
- Data collection. This involves obtaining data from all the necessary sources and performing technical inspections. If necessary, the surveys are conducted and the responses collected and entered.
- Anonymity. Data from registers and survey questionnaires are pseudonymised as quickly as possible after they come in by immediately removing identifying attributes.
- Analysis and processing. During the data analysis and processing, CBS identifies and corrects evident errors. In addition, various methods are used to estimate missing data, based on other available information. This is added to the existing sources. If – in case of a survey – a sample was drawn, the data are raised to match the requested population level.
- Statistical security. Here, careful checks are performed with respect to possible disclosure of individual data in cells intended for publication. There may be no risk that data of individual companies and/or persons can be derived from the data. If such a risk exists, cells for publication are automatically aggregated or values are removed from those cells. CBS will never publish statistical information about individual persons and/or companies or provide this to third parties.
- Publication. This important step entails dissemination of reliable and coherent statistical information among the largest possible audience. This is done via the media and directly, through various CBS channels (e.g. StatLine, website and social media). CBS uses various forms of publication, including animation, news release, paper, press conference, video, etc.