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What is Statistics?

NATIONAL STATISTICAL SERVICE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA

WHAT IS STATISTICS?

YEREVAN - 2000


Contents

1 Foreword
2 Description of Statistics
3 RA Law "On State Statistics"
4 The National Statistical Service of RA
5 State Council on Statistics of the Republic of Armenia
6 State Statistical Work Program
6.1. Three-year Program
6.2. Annual Program
7 The tasks set before the statistics
8 General Strategy of Statistics
9 The Statistical Information Users and the Relation with Them
10 Statistical Materials Published in 2000
11 International Statistical Co-operation


WHAT IS STATISTICS?

1. Foreword

The statistics is like to watch- it needs to be wound up for use.
Hakob Paronyan

I escaped from the school since I have been taught in algebra,
not knowing that this subject will be interesting for me.
Bernard Show

At the turn from XX to XXI century, under the conditions of entire globalization and speeding of markets internationalization, the information was become the most expensive product that is indispensable for providing the exceeding development rates for the statistical system producing the most valuable information.

The statistical information (data) should be reliable. The accounting and norms established by laws regulating financial reports and other legislative acts serve the basis for filling in the statistical documents (calculation of statistical indicators). In cases foreseen by the laws and other legislative acts the providers of statistical information implement special calculations and corrections, present statistical data (information) according to the established requirements.The data considered confidential without the agreement of their provider should not be published or by other form disseminated. The agreement should be expressed in written form. In case of legal units the agreement should be done by their executive body or other body having appropriate authorization according to the regulations. Agreement can contain the restrictions concerning the use of data. The provision on non-publication or non-dissemination by other form of the information doesn’t operate in case, when it is the information reflecting natural or other monopoly activity. Non-publication (non-dissemination) of this information will essentially influence on keeping of principles of the statistical information completeness. In such cases the decision on publication (dissemination) is adopted by the Council.

Article14, RA Law on "State Statistics"

2. Description of Statistics

The term "statistics" is mainly used in two meanings. The first meaning expresses the scientific methodology of the word. The key part of the statistics, as a science, makes up the mathematical statistics that is the branch of mathematics and pertains to so called "stochastic mathematics". The later studies the regularity of random phenomena, the core of which is the probability theory that was created and developed with the aim to solve the human vital challenges. This scientific direction studies the regularities of mass random phenomena of special range. For instance, the damaging of the insured entity (house, car, etc.) due to disaster or other accident is a result of "contingency", however it is possible to make more reliable conclusions on general situation of such numerous entities.

The second meaning of the term by the word composition reflects the conception of "states' description (arguing)" in the context of numerical data. In this case, the collecting, editing and keeping possibilities are continually developed. From the viewpoint of the mentioned meaning, adjectives are made up that indicate the applicable sphere while presentation of relevant data description. For instance, population statistics, which is also called demography (it characterises the population distribution by periods, sex, age, settlement, place of birth, birth, death, marriages, education levels, crimes frequency, etc.), meteorological statistics (it studies data on temperature distribution by different periods, precipitation, directions and speeds of winds), economic, geological and exploratory, medical, health, international, environment and other types of statistics.

Among the contemporary public the peculiarities of statistics are characterised by requirement of advanced development of the information sphere over the other spheres, consequently also by advanced valuation (prising) of information activity and systems. The statistics peculiarity is also characterised by necessity of improvement of the collection, processing, summarising methodology of data regarding general public and all other units of society, as well as by continuos growth of the demand for information containing economic, social, demographic and environmental indicators of the country. State statistics is an activity to be implemented by the state statistics body according to the state statistical work program that directed to numerical characterising of regularities of qualitative and quantitative relations of socio-economic, public phenomena and processes under the definite conditions of the time and space. Statistics doesn’t implement production activity, however the results of its activity interest all institutional units and sectors of society, state government and local self-government bodies, business, scientific and educational spheres, mass media, public and international organizations and the whole society.

The peculiarity of statistical science is regular improvement and development of methodology targeted to maximal reduction of the statistical discrepancies and faults. Even the more unified methodologies that are developed and adopted by the UN Statistical Commission, particularly the methodology of national accounts, are seriously reviewed once in three- or five-year.
The statistical discrepancies and faults are unavoidable while accounting, as each accounting methodology is originally structured based on definite real restrictions (resource, legal, moral and psychological, climatic, etc.) and definite abstract foresight imaginations. For instance, even under the conditions of Soviet Union statistics structured on the principle of exhaustive and inclusive accounting, the indicator of physical volume of retail trade of this or another food, together with the indicator of financial circulation could not reflect the whole volume of the given food’s trade turnover, as the factors, such as underweighting, the non normative (standard) fluctuations of air humidity shares (indicators), etc. were not accounted by the methodology.


3. RA Law "on State Statistics"

On April 4, 2000 the National Assembly of RA adopted the RA Law "On State Statistics", that was signed by the President of RA on 26 April 2000. The Law has been published and entered into force since 10 May 2000. The Law has been published and entered into force since 10 May 2000. It determines the order of organization of state statistics in the Republic of Armenia and regulates the relations regarding the collection, processing, accumulation, summarising and keeping, as well as the analysis, exchange of statistical data related to the social and economic processes in the Republic, population and spheres of its activities, and the presentation (publication) of statistical information.

4. National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia

The National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia (hereinafter referred to as NSS of RA) implements the statistical work foreseen by the state statistical work program on the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
The NSS of RA is headed by its President (Mr. Stepan Mnatsakanyan), who is appointed for a term of 6 years and relieved by the President of the Republic. Deputy of the President of NSS of RA is appointed by the State Council on Statistics based on proposal of the President of NSS of RA.
The NSS of RA has three-level system (central body, 11 regional (marz) departments and their 41 territorial units. Within the framework of RA administrative and territorial government system 11 marz departments of statistics (including Yerevan city’s) are authorized both to co-ordinate the activity of territorial units of the marz and to provide NSS of RA and marz municipalities with the necessary statistical information by marzes.

5. State Council on Statistics of the Republic of Armenia

The supreme body of governance of NSS of RA and its units is the State Council on Statistics of the Republic of Armenia (hereinafter referred to as "Council"). The President of NSS of RA holds at the same time the post of the Chairman of the Council. The Council consists of seven members, which are appointed for a term of 6 years and relieved by the President of the Republic of Armenia.
Council implements the working out of the policy in the domain of state statistics, designing, regulation, organization of the long-term activities, monitor on the implementation of the Program of State Statistical Work, accepting of normative acts with legal character, as well as co-ordination of the administrative statistics in the Republic of Armenia stipulated by the Program of State Statistical Work.

6. State Statistical Work Program

The State Statistical Work Program (hereinafter referred to as Program) is the basis for implementation state statistics on the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
Program includes statistical information necessary for the observation of the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation in the country, taking into account the availability of resources, the burdens on respondents and the cost-effectiveness. The program is developed based on the study of the demand of statistical information users.
For the determination of perspective directions of the state statistical activity the Three-year Program is developed, while for the definition of actions providing with realization of these directions - Annual Program. The Three-year Program is adopted by the National Assembly on presentation of the Government.

6.1. Three-year Program

The Three-year Program includes the main directions of the state statistical activity in economic, demographic, social and environmental fields of the country. Report on implementation of the three-year program is submitted to the National Assembly before the 1 May of the next year.

6.2. Annual Program

The Annual Program is adopted by the Council in a month after the adoption of the State Budget of the Republic of Armenia on presentation of the President of NSS of RA and published. It determines the list of indicators (and their collection, processing, summarizing and publishing work) included in the state statistical accounting, which is implemented through co-ordination by NSS of RA, as well as the work targeted to improvement of their accounting.

The Annual Program includes:
- list of statistical work, terms of their implementation, the coverage, as well as types of observation, periodicity of the presentation of statistical indicators,
- list of surveys that should be implemented by the Service, published statistical handbooks, bulletins and other publications and their periodicity,
- list of organizations, state bodies and local self-government and other administrative registers and list of summary statistical information (data), presented by them,
- list of statistical information users, composition of information, provided free of charge and order of its presentation.

7. Tasks set before the Statistics

- to ensure the unified methodology of statistics in compliance with both the standards adopted by international financial, economic, public and other organizations and the national standards,
- to organize and co-ordinate the statistical information system on economic and social processes and their results, to provide the state and local self-government bodies, organizations (including international), scientific and educational institutions, as well as the public with the information,
- to establish and maintain the statistical business (entreprenual) register,
- to maintain the classification of technical, economic and social information necessary for statistical work organization.

8. General Statistics Strategy

At the present stage, the Strategy in the state statistics field is anchored on fundamentals of policy implementation for building of free market economy, formation of civil social system and extending of democracy principals. In this respect the statistics reform is proceeding, following the regulation of statistical relations - the application of initiated legislative reforms, that will enable to ensure mainly the statistics implementation in compliance with the international standards (adopted by UN Statistical Commission). The statistics should ensure the impartiality (independence), urgency, efficient work, confidentiality of initial (nominal) data, study of statistical information users’ needs, etc. during the program work to satisfy the needs of state bodies, international organizations, business and scientific and general public spheres.From the viewpoint of strategy implementation in the state statistics field, more over 360 integrated indicators by the "State Statistical Work Program 2000" are collected using 225 statistical reporting forms (in preliminary informational volume consisting of over 0.5 mln. pages). It was foreseen to conduct 23 sample surveys in 2000 using the information of over 30 administrative registers, as well as 930 communities and 11 marz municipalities. The collected information is exposed to logical, arithmetical and methodological control, processing, by applying the principals of international methodology and turned into a statistical product- providing the information in publications and other forms.

Particularly it is foreseen:
- to extend and distinguish the tools (including also the specialised, branchal, spherical and regional registers, business-register) for collection of statistical information, as well as the sample surveys through introduction of the contemporary statistical methods, stipulated by the growth of the types of economic and other-character - activities and the number of entities implementing these types of activity,
- to ensure the comparability of the initial statistical information and summary statistics with both the international accounting, reporting and analysing standards and the interdepartmental ones in the context of the tasks related to integration to the world economy in addition to statistics methodology, regular updating of the used techniques, information technologies, applying of unified classifications, as well as introduction of staff’s training system,
- to bring the coverage of indicator’s system to the accordance with acquirement of the possibility to reflect the social and economic situation of the country and all the main processes related to the trends formation in transition to free market economy,
- to come to international standards on statistics, particularly to reorganize the structure and composition of the output materials (bulletins, reports, handbooks) in order to completely and operatively meet the needs of users of the statistical "product", to apply the international information dissemination standards (particularly to subscribe to the IMF’s "General Data Dissemination System"), as well as to widely use the electronic ways of information dissemination,
- to intend the work on introduction of the system for providing with the paid statistical services, besides the state order, aimed at increasing of statistics usefulness and efficiency,
- to arrange the statistical databases, particularly to enhance the branchal and territorial registers and co-ordinate their activity,
- to ensure the structural changes promoting to operation of active system of branchal and by-domains statistical registers’ establishment and activity co-ordination by statistical three-level subordination system (republican, marz and community) and by co-ordination (ministries, departments and the Central Bank of RA) from the viewpoint of operation of the state statistical system as inclusive as possible by the all-governmental and administrative and territorial divisions,
- to deepen and extend as regularly as possible the work with the users aimed at harmonization of the communicational characteristics on the base of definition of statistical information publicity, and classification of its users (state bodies, scientific and educational system, business, general public, public and international organizations, mass media, near and far countries and other units),
- to update and define the list of statistical work included in the Annual Program, the periodicity of their presentation and terms of implementation, coverage, the surveys to be carried out by NSS of RA, the list and periodicity of statistical handbooks, bulletins and other publications to be published, the list of organizations, state and local self-government bodies and other administrative registers and list of summary statistical data (information), presented by them, the list of statistical information users, the composition of information provided free of charge and order of its presentation.

9 .Statistical Information Users and Relations with Them

The social and economic reforms in transition to free market economy in the country, the rapid movements in the economy make indispensable the provision of the statistical information users with more accurate, reliable statistical publications that also correspond to the standards of the current time.
One of the key objectives is to provide with the statistical product that corresponds to users’ needs. One of the priority directions of statistics reform is to update the statistical information dissemination experience and policy of its implementation and the application of new approaches in this field. The statistical data dissemination is necessary for government, business and scientific and educational spheres, political and other public organizations, mass media and general public, as well as for international society. In the marketing activity it is necessary to activate and extend the use of statistical publications.
The statistical information users are the state bodies, public scientific, educational and other organizations, juridical and legislative bodies, banking system, mass media, business and citizens, statistical services of CIS and other countries, international organizations and etc.To ensure the work in the field of studies of the marketing and harmonization of communication characteristics with users, the statistical library was established in NSS of RA. It operates constantly, and the admission free. At present work on its updating, including on creation of electronic library is implemented.
Taking into account the variety of economic entities and other public processes, the daily growth of demand for reliable statistical information and its volume, the necessity of dynamic changes in its composition and structure, approximately 2-3 years will be required for formation of maximal frame of statistical information demand, prising system functioning, introduction of the contemporary mechanism for providing with the services.
It is necessary to create an "order package" to make possible the satisfaction of current need for information in minimal period, simultaneously taking into account the circumstance that the information, as each product, has to correspond to the requirements of the quantitative and qualitative standards system (from contents to packaging). The more rapid dissemination of information could be available only through applying of contemporary technologies.
With the purpose to improve the assortment and contents of official publications, a feed-back system with users should be developed, through which the complete consumer demand will be satisfied in future, as well as the paid services system will be improved.
Taking into account the growing possibilities and accessibility of Internet, in the nearest future it will be necessary to foresee separate financing for data dissemination through Internet, based on peculiarities of statistical work.
Besides the informational - analytical monthly reports "Socio-economic Situation in the Republic", statistical handbooks, booklets, bulletins, reports and other informational-analytical materials are published by NSS of RA.

To ensure the accessibility of statistical information:
- the statistical information on indicators characterising the socio-economic situation of the country is disseminated (free of charge) by numerous addresses (state bodies, public, scientific and educational organizations, business spheres, international organizations), as well as broadcast by the National Radio and Television of Armenia, provided to mass media in press releases,
- similar publications by marzes (on indicators characterizing the socio-economic situation of the marz) are prepared by the regional (marz) divisions of NSS of RA,
- at least 2 copies of each statistical publication included in the Annual Program are provided to the library of NSS of RA,
- the key statistical indicators, publications and other materials are put in the Internet in Armenian and Russian (also in English, if possible).NSS of RA provides, by established order, the international (intergovernmental, interstate) organizations and foreign states with the statistical information, according to the obligations imposed by International Agreements of the Republic of Armenia, as well as implements new surveys and other statistical work based on agreement reached during the reference year.

The work on elaboration of the Project "State Statistical Work Program 2001" has begun since January 2000. During the elaboration of the mentioned Project, over 100 statistical information users (state bodies, international, public, scientific, educational and other organizations, mass media, judicial and legal bodies) are requested to make comments and recommendations, which will be considered in the Project of the Program after their study.
Since February 1999 the National Statistical Service of RA has located its page in the Internet at this address: http://www.armstat.am, in which the summary statistical publications are continually inputted.
NSS of RA owns the copyright for all its publications (and electronic product). In case of use of the statistical materials the reference to NSS of RA is obligatory.

10. Statistical materials published in 2000

Within the framework of TACIS Program
- "Report on Survey of External Migration Process in the Republic of Armenia for 1991-1998" (Armenian, English),
- "Report on Survey of Passenger Flows at the Cross-Borders of the Republic of Armenia (Armenian, English),
- "Report on Retail Trade Organisations (Shops) and Kiosks Sample Survey of the Republic of Armenia" (Armenian, English),
- "Report on Sample Survey of Road Transport Organisations and Individual Entrepreneurs Dealing with Goods and Passenger Transportation in the Republic of Armenia(Armenian),
- "Transport and Communication of RA for 1992-1998 (Armenian, Russian),
- "Sample Survey of International Trade in Services in RA"(Armenian),
- "Statistical Yearbook of South Caucasus countries",(English, Russian),"National Accounts of the Republic of Armenia for 1990-1997", English

At the expense of the state budget of RA
- "National Accounts of the Republic of Armenia for 1990-1997" (Armenian, Russian), for the first time
- "Foreign Trade of the Republic of Armenia for 1999" (by commodity groups), (Armenian, English),
- "Foreign Trade of the Republic of Armenia for 1999" (based on harmonised system 6-digit and EU 8-digit codes), (Armenian, English),
- The list of statistical publications for 1999. (Armenian),
- The list of statistical publications foreseen for 2000. (Armenian),
- "International Investment Position of the Republic of Armenia",(Armenian),
- "Balance of Payments of the Republic of Armenia for 1999", (Armenian),
- "Finances of the Republic of Armenia", (Armenian, Russian),

The following statistical handbooks are in the process or ready to be published.
- "Construction in the Republic of Armenia for 1990-1999."
- " Social Situation in the Republic of Armenia for 1999",
- "Environment and the Use of Natural Resources in the Republic of Armenia in 1999",
- "Living Space Fund and Communal Economy of the Republic of Armenia in 1999",
- " Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia for 1990-1999":

The following statistical bulletins were published:
- "Summary of Data on Economic Entities, Condominiums and Budgetary Institutions (Organisations) Registered in the State Register", monthly, Armenian,
- " Consumer Price Index (prices) in RA," monthly, Armenian,
- " Availability of Agricultural Technique and Its State of Readiness", monthly, Armenian,
- "Basic Indicators of Industrial Organizations by the Types of Economic Activity", monthly, Armenian,
- " Production of Main Types of Products in Industrial Organizations (in kind)", monthly, Armenian,
- "Construction in the Republic of Armenia", quarterly, Armenian,
- "Permanent Population of the Republic of Armenia ", quarterly, Armenian,
- "On the Number of Peasant and Peasant Collective Farms and Their Land Allocation as of 1 January 2000", annually, Armenian,
- "Totals of Entire Census of the Livestock as of 1 January 2000", annually, Armenian,
- "Sown Areas under the Agricultural Crops and Gross Yield for 1999", annually, Armenian,
- "Realisation of Agricultural Goods by Peasant Farms for 1999", annually, Armenian,

The following statistical reports were prepared and published.
- "Pre-school and Primary Education", ¥ financed by UNICEF¤,
- "Women and Men in Armenia", (financed by SIDA),
- "Basic Characteristics of the Economy of the Republic of Armenia as of 1 January 2000",
- "Results of Entire Census of the Livestock as of 1 January 2000",
- "On the Entire Census of the Livestock as of 1 January 2000",
- "Current Expenses on Production of Agricultural Goods and Raw Materials in the Peasant Farms for 1999",
- "Balance of Payments of the Republic of Armenia for 1999",
- "Activity of Air Transport in the Republic of Armenia for 1999",
- " Activity of Railway Transport in Common Use in the Republic of Armenia for 1999" ,
- "Realisation (Use) of Agricultural Goods by Peasant Farms for 1999":

11. Internatioanl Statistical Co-operation

NSS of RA keeps on the co-operation with international organizations and national statistical services and receives technical, financial, consultation and working support from them.
The international co-operation of NSS of RA with the national statistical services and international organizations is also implemented by wide exchange of statistical information. Numerous yearbooks, bulletins, directories, methodological manuals, questionnaires and other statistical materials are received, which are located in the library.
NSS of RA foresees to keep on the active participation in the international co-operation scope to ensure world-wide the improvement, unification and harmonization of statistical methodology and practice, the comparison of the indicators published officially by the national statistical services on both the socio-economic development of their countries and population living standards. This important and comprehensive activity by both its contents and types will be implemented in the following main directions:
A. Participation in the activity of international organizations: UN Statistical Commission, UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Conference of European Statisticians, UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Education, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pasific (ESCAP), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UN/FAO), other specialised UN system bodies, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Statistical Office of European Union (EUROSTAT), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), etc.
B. For solution of key challenges in reforms of state statistics system, to develop co-operation projects with foreign experts’ participation and to implement them at the expense of funds foreseen for international organizations’ national and regional programs on technical support.
The following co-operation projects should be implemented jointly with the Statistical Office of European Union (Eurostat) within the framework of TACIS Program for 2000-2001:
a) Business-register
b) Business-statistics
c) Foreign Trade Statistics
d) Demography Statistics
e) Classifications
f) Publications
g) Information Technologies
h) System of National Accounts
i) Labour Statistics
j) Statistical Users
k) Equipment.
It is foreseen to implement the following Projects jointly with the Statistics Central Bureau of Sweden (SCB) by financing of the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA).
a) Management
b) Demographic statistics
c) Social Statistics
d) Gender Statistics
e) Financial Accounts
f) Library Organization and Maintenance
g) Methods of Sample Surveys
h) Agriculture Statistics, including Price Indices
i) Environment Statistics.
C. Bilateral Co-operation with the national statistical services on the issues related to the statistical activity updating.
D. Development of traditional relations and bilateral co-operation with the statistical services of CIS countries, participating in the activity of CIS Interstate Statistical Committee.

WHAT IS STATISTICS?

Statistical guide

Responsible Editor
Summary Statistics, Publications and Marketing Division, National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia

Published

Paper - ofset 1. Size - 21 x 29.7: Edition - 500 copies. 2001

¡ NATIONAL STATISTICAL SERVICE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA
2001


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