Public confidence in official statistics

Document type
Simpson, Ian; Beninger, Kelsey; Ormston, Rachel
NatCen Social Research
Date of publication
1 February 2015
Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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This report presents findings from the 2014 British Social Attitudes survey on public attitudes to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and official statistics. Questions were based on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Model Questionnaire on trust in official statistics, allowing comparisons with similar surveys in other countries. Most people (73% of those who expressed a view) agree that official figures are generally accurate. However, the British public does not appear to have much confidence in how they are used by the government or newspapers – only 28% agreed ‘the government presents official figures honestly when talking about its policies’ and only 19% agreed that ‘newspapers present official figures honestly’. While people are sceptical about government use of official figures, most people (66% of those who expressed an opinion) think ONS figures themselves are free of political interference.

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