The Nordic countries have a long tradition in using administrative registers in the production of official statistics. They also have a long tradition in cooperating in the field of statistics. One of their common experiences is that the use of administrative records in censuses is the last step in a process that begins with producing statistics on different subject areas, depending on the type of registers available. By producing statistics on population or employment based on administrative data, they have learned about the influence the actual registers have on the quality of the statistics. After a period of testing and improvement, they realized that the quality of the administrative data was compatible with the quality recommended for censuses, and decided to also use the registers for census purposes. The time it takes from the establishment of an administrative register to having the quality data needed for census purposes may differ from one subject area to another. Nevertheless, the process is similar from subject area to subject area and from country to country. This also seems to be the case for establishing a statistical system based on register information.
In recent years, an increasing number of countries in the UNECE region are considering the possibility of producing statistics based on administrative registers. Therefore, the National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) decided to share their experience and knowledge with the international statistical community, by producing comprehensive documentation of their best practices. The objective of this volume is to give strategic and planning officers in the NSIs an understanding of what register-based statistics are, covering also the necessary technical and administrative capacity, and the possible applications of these methods to produce official statistics. The emphasis of the publication is on the use of administrative registers to produce demographic and social statistics.
Register-based statistics in the Nordic countries - Review of best practices with focus on population and social statistics (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.07.II.E.11), 2007