Joint UNECE / Eurostat meeting on Population and Housing Censuses7-9 July 2010, Geneva Disseminating Census information to maximise use and value Keith Dugmore Demographic Decisions
Themes • Statistics for the public good • The costs of collecting, and disseminating, information • Supply – the range of potential statistical products • Marketing the Census – identifying market segments • Maximising use and value – by seeking a better balance between risk and utility • Maximising use and value – a wider manifesto
Introduction – Statistics for the public good • “Only used statistics are useful statistics” • A user’s view based on UK experience – 3 Census Offices • Statistics Act 2007, & its Code of Practice • “Statistics that serve the public good” • Code of Practice, Principle 1: Meeting User Needs • “The production, management and dissemination of official statistics should meet the requirements of informed decision-making by government, public services, business, researchers and the public.” • Current political context • Positive: Making Public Data Public - www.data.gov.uk • Negative: Threat of cuts to the Census budget
The cost of disseminating information – as a % of the total Census budget, 2001 # # #
The range of potential statistical products • Resident population tables • Resident population area classifications • Workplace population tables • Origin / Destination tables • Commissioned special tables • Flexible table generation • Microdata files Plus: • Digital boundaries for Output Areas • Postcode / Output Area directory
Marketing the Census – identifying market segments:a) Sectors Plus: • The general public • Value Added Resellers (Census Offices can learn much from them)
A. Census Specialists B. Mainstream Analysts C. Occasional & New Users Marketing the Census – identifying market segments: b) User segments – knowledge, and time available Numbers of users, and their expertise
Maximising use and value (1) – by seeking a better balance between risk and utility • The Census White Paper rightly puts a strong emphasis on the importance of statistical confidentiality, and outlines several measures to ensure disclosure control “that is, to prevent the release of statistical information that identifies characteristics about an individual person or household.” • ONS has sought to establish the extent to which data can be damaged without rendering it useless……. • “The utility of microdata that has undergone Statistical Disclosure Limitation methods is based on whether statistical inference can be carried out and the same analysis and conclusions drawn on the perturbed data to the original data.”
But there’s also practical utility / value…… "That property in any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or happiness…….It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong.” 1789: Jeremy Bentham Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation “Ensure that arrangements for confidentiality are sufficient to protect the privacy of individual information, but not so restrictive as to limit unduly the practical utility of official statistics.” 2009: UK Statistics Authority. Code of Practice.
Maximising use and value (2) – a wider manifestoUtility and accessibility Many Utility – numbers of users and uses Few Easy Difficult Accessibility
Maximising use and value – a wider manifesto • Terms & Conditions • Free at the point of use • Simple licensing • Statistics – specification • Statistics for very small areas • Simple key statistics • Simple geodemographic area classifications • Statistics – delivery • Internet (+ DVD) • Popular formats – Excel and csv • Bulk downloads for big distributors • Email alerts • Accompanying geographical infrastructure • Digital boundaries • Postcode / Output Area directory • Map background
Maximising use and value – visualisation A map of the OAC classification using a tool developed at UCL which takes a shapefile and creates a fully working Google Maps website. MapTube enables hosting and searching of map data.
Maximising use and value – enabling comparisons between countries • Many users seek to compare variables across national boundaries, and much time and frustration could be saved if the Census Offices make it clear which variables use common definitions (and also those which cannot be compared), and produce comparable packages of key variables • Users in the UK are also hoping that such packaged datasets will all be available from a single website, rather than having to be consolidated country by country • We are looking forward to this extending not just across the UK, but to Europe as a whole
In conclusion……. • We must always be thinking of Jeremy Bentham’s view of utility • “It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people”
Keith DugmoreDemographic Decisions Ltd. Tel: (0044) 020 7834 0966 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.demographic.co.uk