For statistics from any survey to be reliable and accurate, a good response is required from the targeted population.
This reminder has come from Director of the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS), Aubrey Browne, who is encouraging members of the public to contribute to the process of having accurate national statistics by responding fully to interviewers when they visit households or businesses.
Mr. Browne said that some persons did not always respond positively to those conducting surveys. “Information is only as good as the information that the individual provides. So, if you are included in a sample, it is very important that you supply information about yourself so that we can have reliable statistics when we compile our data. Every individual counts.
“Persons may say, ‘you can go to the next individual and not me’, but if people refuse to participate in the sample, then there is a reduction because we tend to sample without substitution. So we need to have every person in the sample cooperating,” he stressed.
The BSS Director said two broad sources of information were used for compiling statistics – censuses or surveys and administrative records.
He explained that a census, which is a complete enumeration of all members of the population, is an expensive undertaking. It is conducted every 10 years, the next being due in 2020.
Mr. Browne added that during the intervening periods, surveys are usually conducted using a representative sample of the population, to obtain more regular statistics.
“For example, we conduct a Continuous Household Labour Force Survey each quarter, so we would have staff in the field going to households to collect information. That information is used to compile the statistics on the labour force and that is how we derive information, such as the unemployment rate,” he explained.
Administrative records, he pointed out, refer to sources where data is generated during the normal course of transacting business.
He highlighted the Customs Department and Immigration Department as agencies which generate statistics on merchandise trade (imports and exports) and tourist arrivals, respectively.
Mr. Browne added that vital statistics such as births and deaths are compiled from data from the Registration Department.