How are figures calculated by CBS?
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) collects as much information as possible from existing government and business registries. The use thereof is regulated by law, with top priority given to privacy and reliability. Additionally, CBS collects data through its own surveys. New data sources such as big data are also increasingly forming the basis for statistics. Combining all these data sources in an innovative and reliable manner opens up more possibilities to produce new, up-to-date, society-oriented and more detailed statistics.
The statistical process – step by step
Between the request for figures and the publication of statistics, we distinguish seven consecutive steps: the statistical process.
- The question. This may be based on a statutory national or European obligation, or it could be a request from a Dutch ministry, for instance.
- Preparations. First, researchers determine what data are needed and what is already available, such as data from the Personal Records Database, the key register WOZ (Valuation of Immovable Property) and the Trade Register. Next, they determine which supplemental data are needed and from which sources these might be obtained, e.g. registers, surveys or big data. If existing sources are not sufficient, a supplemental survey may be prepared.
- Data collection. The necessary sources are brought in and technical checks are carried out. Survey data, if any, are collected and processed.
- Anonymity. Data from registers and surveys are anonymised as soon as possible after they come in by removing directly identifying attributes.
- Analysis and processing. During analysis and processing of the data, CBS identifies and corrects evident errors. In addition, various methods are used to estimate missing data, based on other available information. Sample data are weighted and raised to match the requested population level.
- Statistical security. Before publication, careful checks are performed first with respect to possible disclosure of individual data. There may be no risk that data of individual companies 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 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. the StatLine database, www.cbs.nl and social media). CBS uses various forms of publication including animation, press conference, news release, video, paper etc.
Facts that matter
CBS stands for a well-informed society, based on facts. As the designated statistical agency of the Netherlands, CBS supplies reliable statistical information and data to provide insight into social issues. In doing so, CBS contributes to social debate, research, policy development and decision making. We have been doing so since 1899.
We stick to the facts:
- 600 statistical surveys per year
- 2 thousand mostly highly educated staff, working together from The Hague, Heerlen and Bonaire
- 70 thousand mentions in the media
- 14 billion figures in StatLine