Public confidence in official statistics remains high since COVID-19 pandemic
25 April 2022
| Tags: national statistics
Trust in official statistics remains high since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest Public Confidence in Official Statistics report, produced by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) on behalf of the UK Statistics Authority.
The report found 87% of people who gave a view trusted the statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a similar level to before the pandemic (85% in 2018).
Meanwhile awareness of ONS increased, with three-quarters (75%) saying they had heard of ONS in 2021, up from 70% in 2018, and 44% saying they had used COVID-19 statistics produced by ONS.
The proportion of people agreeing that official statistics are generally accurate also increased, from 78% in 2018 to 82% in 2021. 79% in 2021 agreed that COVID-19 statistics were accurate.
Overall, almost three-quarters (74%) agreed that ONS statistics are produced free from political interference, similar to 2018 (73%).
Views about political interference with COVID-19 statistics were more mixed, with 53% agreeing COVID-19 statistics were free from political interference.
However, the proportion of people who agree that the government presents official statistics honestly when talking about its policies increased from 31% in 2018 to 35% in 2021.
The survey also found that a large majority (90%) agreed that personal information provided to ONS would be kept confidential.
Members of the public who had taken part in ONS surveys were even more likely to express this view than those who had not (92% and 87% respectively).
Gillian Prior, Deputy Chief Executive of the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), said: “Official statistics have played a bigger role in our lives during the pandemic than perhaps ever before, and this is reflected in increased public awareness of ONS. Against this backdrop, public confidence in the accuracy of official statistics has also increased, as has confidence in political figures to present statistics honestly.”
For more information about the research please contact:
Oliver Paynel, Communications Manager, National Centre for Social Research
Direct: 0207 549 9550 Mobile: 07734 960 071
Katie Crabb, Head of Marketing and Communications, National Centre for Social Research
Direct: 0207 549 8504
For queries about the Office for National Statistics, please contact:
Julia Short (firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 1633 580 058) or email@example.com
For queries about the Office for Statistics Regulation, please contact:
Suzanne Halls (firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 2075 928 659) or email@example.com
Notes to Editors
1.The National Centre for Social Research, Britain’s largest independent social research organisation, aims to promote a better-informed society through high quality social research (www.natcen.ac.uk).
2. This research presents findings on public attitudes to official statistics in Britain in 2021, based on interviews conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) with a representative sample of 3,398 adults aged 18 and over in Britain between 15 October and 20 December 2021.
3. The research was commissioned by the UK Statistics Authority (the Authority), an independent body at arm’s length from Government with the statutory objective of promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics. You can find more information at uksa.statisticsauthority.gov.uk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
4. The Public Confidence in Official Statistics survey has been run at regular intervals since 2004, most recently in 2014, 2016 and 2018 as part of NatCen’s face-to-face British Social Attitudes survey. In 2021 the research was conducted online for the first time. The 2021 survey was designed to allow comparisons to be made with previous waves of the survey despite the change in mode.