Edition 2021

Foto omschrijving: Young woman completing an online CBS survey questionnaire on a laptop

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.

Which data do we need?Which data do we have?Which data do we lack?Which sources can we use?Surveytaking: preparation2. PreparationsDeploy the required resources (registrations, big data and surveys where applicable)3. Data collectionTechnical monitoring Anonymisation of response 4. AnonymityEuropean obligations and additional requests from the fields of practice, policymaking and science1. The question••••••••••How are figures calculated by CBS?
StatLineTechnical monitoring Anonymisation of response Error correction Calculation of missing data Adjust survey sample size for population size 5. Analysis and processingEnsure prevention of data disclosure at the individual level Cell suppression (SDC) using CBS software 6. Statistical securityDifferent channels: StatLine, website, social media etc. Different forms: animation, press conference, news release, video, paper etc. 7. Publication

The statistical process – step by step

Between the request for figures and the publication of statistics, we distinguish seven consecutive steps: the statistical process.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Data collection. The necessary sources are brought in and technical checks are carried out. Survey data, if any, are collected and processed.
  4. Anonymity. Data from registers and surveys are anonymised as soon as possible after they come in by removing directly identifying attributes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

The questions


This web publication was developed by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in cooperation with Textcetera The Hague.
If you have a question or comment about this publication, please contact us.

Disclaimer and copyright


On this website, CBS uses functional cookies on this website to allow proper functioning of the site. These cookies do not contain personal user data and have minimal or no consequences for your privacy. In addition, CBS uses analytical cookies to track visitor statistics, including the number of page views, which topics users are searching, and how visitors reach our website. The purpose is to gain insight into the functioning of the website in order to improve your user experience. We minimise traceability of visitors to our website as much as possible by anonymising the final octet (group of eight bits) of each IP address. These data are not shared with other parties. CBS does not use tracking cookies. Tracking cookies are cookies that track visitors during their browsing of other websites.

The functional and analytical cookies have minimal or no consequences for your privacy. In accordance with current regulations, these cookies may be placed without prior consent.

More information (in Dutch only): https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/telecommunicatie/vraag-en-antwoord/mag-een-website-ongevraagd-cookies-plaatsen

Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

About CBS

CBS responds to developments in Dutch society by providing statistical information as facts that matter, and communicates on these facts with the outside world. In doing so, CBS offers insights into current developments in society and helps answer policy questions. Research at CBS is focused on broad trends in society and how these are interrelated.

CBS has offices in The Hague, Heerlen and Bonaire with altogether approximately 2,000 staff. A society-oriented working attitude is essential to CBS. CBS provides figures which are relevant to society. Every year, CBS publishes around 600 statistical studies. Virtually every day, CBS data and figures are communicated to the outside world via news releases, video messages and through social media. This results in some 50,000 articles per year in daily newspapers and on news sites.

For more information on CBS’s tasks, organisation and publications, go to cbs.nl/en-gb.


Should you have any questions or need more information, please contact us.


Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik


Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie

Hendrik Zuidhoek


Ronald van der Bie

Annelie Hakkenes-Tuinman

Michel van Kooten

Sidney Vergouw

Paul de Winden

Karolien van Wijk

Gert Jan Wijma


Frans Dinnissen

Gaby de Vet

Taalcentrum VU

Final editor

Elma Wobma

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition of The Netherlands in numbers.