Making statistics and everyone count

By Martine Zaïda, OECD

Did you know that 2013 is the International Year of Statistics?

Organisations worldwide are coming together to celebrate and recognise the contributions of statistical science. Through the combined energies of close to 2,000 organisations involved from virtually every country in the world, the International Year of Statistics aims to promote the importance of statistics with three main objectives:

  • increase public awareness of the power and impact of statistics on all aspects of society;
  • nurture statistics as a profession, especially among young people; and
  • promote creativity and development in the sciences of probability and statistics.
 

The OECD is actively participating in these celebrations. On 5 April, the organisation held its annual OECD Statistics Day around the theme of increasing public awareness of the power and impact of statistics on all aspects of society. Under the banner “Making Statistics and Everyone Count”, the day was all about showing that statistics are about people. 

As OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “Statistics have become essential in helping societies stay informed and make smart decisions, as voters, as consumers, as tax-payers, as parents. They increase transparency; they can hold governments accountable; and they allow citizens to better understand just how they, their families and their countries are doing in an increasingly complex world. This information is crucial for them to be active participants in democratic processes.” 

The OECD, recognised for the quality and diversity of its statistics, has always been at the forefront of new statistical developments which can help people better understand the world they are living in. Examples range from projects like the OECD Better Life Initiative, which gives insight into how countries compare in terms of well-being to the PISA programme which allows a comparison of education systems worldwide on the basis of 15-year-olds’ competencies in reading, math and science. The OECD is also one of the first organisations, in collaboration with the World Trade Organization, to look at the value added by each country in the production of goods and services that are consumed worldwide. This initiative provides new insights into the commercial relations between countries, but, it also has the potential to touch people’s lives. For example, by identifying where value is being added, it will be possible to pinpoint where income and jobs are created.

These are just a few of the innovative initiatives featured at OECD Statistics Day in April 2013 which can have a direct impact on someone’s everyday life. 

The OECD will also be publishing a “Stat of the week” throughout 2013 as part of the International Year of Statistics celebrations which you can see here:

http://www.oecd.org/statistics/statistics2013attheoecd.htm.

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