Statistics Explained

From Statistics Explained

Statistics Explained is both an innovative electronic publishing platform and a gateway to Eurostat's statistical information, providing rich information on any statistical subject treated by Eurostat. Because it works in a way similar to Wikipedia, it is easy to use and easy to navigate.

Statistics Explained is:

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  • an encyclopaedia on European Union statistics;
  • a portal to further information for occasional and for regular users;
  • a statistical glossary.

Statistics Explained makes extensive use of hyperlinking and similar possibilities offered by the internet to provide seamless access to information at various levels. It contains statistical data and explanations, but also direct links to latest figures and to all kind of relevant background information which may be useful to understand the statistics.

The content of Statistics Explained

Statistical articles are the core of Statistics Explained. Each set of statistics produced by Eurostat is described by one or several statistical articles.

The typical statistical article starts off with an indication the freshness of the data used, followed by a brief introduction summarising its content and a detailed table of contents.

The main body is composed of the following parts:

  • Main statistical findings highlight the most important statistical results, both through text and through graphs and tables.
  • Data sources and availability briefly describes how the data were obtained (for example, by which survey) as well as potential limitations and problems.
  • Context discusses reasons behind the data collection and the uses that may be made of the data; it may refer to the legal basis, the policy context, the importance for politics, business or the society as a whole.
  • Further Eurostat information provides direct links to more detailed or more recent information on the Eurostat website including freshest data, publications, or detailed methodological information.
  • External links to related information from other institutions and organisations.

The statistical articles are supplemented by pages providing background information on statistics, either short glossary pages with definitions or more detailed background articles focusing on methodological issues rather than presenting data.

Finally, Statistics Explained is multilingual, as much as is possible with limited resources:

  • all statistical and background articles and glossary pages are available in English, also the 'mother' version for any translating;
  • a large selection of some 90 statistical articles (the content of the online publications Eurostat yearbook and Eurostat regional yearbook) is also available in French and German, supplemented by an extensive glossary in those languages;
  • the 20 most important and representative statistical articles are translated in another 19 EU languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish;
  • glossaries of varying size, created in collaboration with national statistical institutes, exist in Dutch, Estonian, Greek, Icelandic, Polish, Spanish and Swedish.

Navigation in Statistics Explained

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The easiest way to find a particular article in Statistics Explained is simply through a standard web search on keywords, as chances are high that the article will appear near the top of the ranking of results. A more focused way is to use the search function of Statistics Explained or the Eurostat main website.

Besides a search on keywords, two other navigation tools within Statistics Explained may help users find an article: statistical themes and categories.

The hierarchy of statistical themes (and sub-themes) reflects the traditional logic of Eurostat’s website, where data and publications are grouped in one of nine statistical themes. The item 'Statistical themes' in the navigation bar in the left column of every Statistics Explained page provides access to a clickable overview of the themes and their subthemes – the expandable tree structure leads to the articles classified under those themes.

In a similar way categories are used for grouping articles, in a less formal way; categories are not classified in a hierarchy and new categories can be created if they are useful for grouping related articles. Categories are listed at the bottom of every article, and they are often used to find related articles. The navigation bar to the left contains a link to the alphabetical list of all categories.

The available language versions for any page can be found in the navigation area on the left, under 'In other languages' (in some cases only English): the current language version is highlighted in bold and black, click on any other language to switch to that one.

Statistics Explained and Eurostat publications

Since it was created in 2009, Statistics Explained has integrated the content of several traditional statistical books. As an example, Europe in figures - Eurostat yearbook is since 2013 a rollingly updated online-only publication in Statistics Explained. Also the content of the annual 'European Business – facts and figures' publication has been converted completely to a set of Statistics Explained articles.

Although Statistics Explained now offers a much quicker and more efficient way of disseminating statistical content, Eurostat will keep on producing traditional publications in paper and/or PDF format, in the following cases:

  • short publications analysing newest statistical data (series Statistics in focus integrated in Statistics Explained but downloadable as fully layouted PDF);
  • methodological publications for a small expert audience (series Statistical working papers, PDF only);
  • the Eurostat regional yearbook and some other flagship publications, for reference and historical reasons;
  • a number of free-of-charge pocketbooks on main statistical topics, for reference and publicity purposes.