Published on Monday, October 2, 2023

Global | Big Data for 21st century statistics: the future is now!

We are witnessing significant revisions of the national accounts of various countries, including those published last week by the INE in Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, or Germany and the Netherlands two months ago. Most of them reveal that GDP grew more than initially estimated.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • Statistical revisions are part of the usual statistical processes in developed economies. On this occasion, they incorporate an atypical period: the post-COVID recovery. Beyond the revisions, some agencies have published special reports on the need to adapt statistics to new times.
  • A common problem is the growing deficiencies of the “survey”; based method that generates many indicators. Designed for the industrial era, they do not adapt as efficiently to economies dominated by services and digitalization, which increasingly originate and demand real-time information and high granularity.
  • Even more serious is the structural decline in the response rate of some surveys. In the case of the USA, the response rate of the important “Consumer Expenditure Survey” has dropped in just ten years from 71% in 2012 to 43% in 2022.
  • The digital era offers unparalleled opportunities to obtain real-time and high-definition information from both public records and private data. Incorporating it is not without challenges such as ensuring representativeness, developing common methodologies and standards, and greater coordination and collaboration between official and private organizations.
  • We are living a crucial moment in which Big Data and artificial intelligence are going to revolutionize national statistics, offering information in real time, more accurate and detailed. It is not absent of challenges, but there is enormous potential for society.

Documents to download

  • Press article (PDF)

    Alvaro_Ortiz_Vidal_Abarca_Big_Data_para_las_estadisticas_del_siglo_XXI_el_futuro_es_ahora_Expansion_WB.pdf Spanish October 2, 2023



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