Niels Ploug

Niels Ploug,
Director of Social Statistics at Statistics Denmark

As the weather is getting bad and the dark is getting even darker -it is winter in the North- we are working even harder on our part of the program for the UN World Data Forum. We will be there to exchange with old and new friends our experiences on how to use data from administrative sources to produce official statistics in an efficient and cost-effective way and, more importantly, to ensure that No One is Left Behind.

While preparing to discuss with the world the advantages and challenges of using administrative data sources for the production of statistics, we remind ourselves that administrative registers are there to organize the information needed by those who are politically and practically responsible for the provision of crucial public goods (be it education, health, or social safety nets), and to help ensure good governance. The fact that data from administrative registers can also be used for the production of statistics is just an “add-on”, and not their primary function.

We look forward to share at the UN World Data Forum the very detailed ways how we actually can rely on administrative records to obtain extremely valuable statistical information, combining data from different admin sources into an integrated system of statistics that makes it possible, for instance, to derive very specific knowledge about the labor market position of every individual in our country. As another example, we will see how it is possible to have an education register that follows every student on his or her way through the educational system. On top of this, we look forward to show how we are sharing our data with researchers and analysts in ministries and organization for them to do detailed analysis on specific areas of our society.

For us, it all started back in the 1960s and was developed through the 1970s — at a time were advancements in information technology were not as widespread as they are now. We are sure that there many important lessons to learn from each other in our common quest for better data that can help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

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