Official statistics have the mandate of compiling and imparting user-friendly information on important areas of life in our society. This information serves the planning and management of key political areas. With the help of statistical information, the current situation and development of these areas can be observed and evaluated.
Statistics offer anchoring ground in an increasingly complex world, helping the modern, democratic government to assume an objective orientation. Political debates which often tend to be emotional can be developed on the basis of facts. Public opinion is also shaped by collective perception which may be anecdotally swayed or biased. Information from independent official statistics can have a corrective effect here and establish a link with measurable reality.
The development of society as a whole is at the centre of official statistics' interests.
Data are collected in line with scientific criteria, transformed into statistical information and published in anonymous form. The production of official statistical information thus ranges from the concept and data collection to dissemination and communication of results. It offers users permanently available and, insofar as possible, internationally comparable basic information on the status and development of the population, economy, society, territory and environment in Switzerland.
Official statistics are characterised by their transparent, scientific foundations, compliance with international standards and the development of information that is stable over time and space. Bound to independence with regard to scientific methodology, official statistics provide this information, but do not evaluate the results – including from a political perspective – nor do they derive recommended action from these. Only in this way can official statistics resist pressure from particular interests and continue to guarantee trust, security and the reliability of official information.
This obliges the producers of official statistics to ensure that their production processes are flexible enough to respond to new, long-term information needs. However, they also need to follow social, economic and political developments on their own initiative to ensure that they cover the underlying issues in cooperation with their users and partners.