Communicating the uncertainty in official data

Presenter(s): Edwin de Jonge, CBS

e-mail(s): e.dejonge@cbs.nl

Date: 7 April 2020

Webinar aims

Statistics has the aim of producing accurate, precise and reliable measures for social, economic, environmental phenomena. All statistical data should ideally be accompanied by indications of its accuracy, precision and reliability. Communication of uncertainty of official statistics is of fundamental importance, but is not a common practice.Uncertainty measures in official statistics should be calculated and communicated and discuss issues in the communication of uncertainty. Best practices in verbal, numerical and visual communication of uncertainty measures in statistics are presented and discussed.

Webinar learning outcomes

    • Awareness of uncertainty of official statistics

    • Awareness of importancy of communicating uncertainty of official statistics

    • To become familiar with best practices on uncertainty communication

Webinar content

    • Description of current uncertainty communication practices

    • Explanation of different concepts of uncertainty

    • Illustration of best practices on communicating accuracy of statistics

Difficulty level


Prerequisites for the webinar

Basic understanding of statistics and official statistics

Further reading and resources

Manski Charles F. Communicating uncertainty in official economic statistics: an appraisalfifty years after Morgenstern. Journal of Economic Literature 53:631653, 20153

van der Bles, Anne Marthe and van der Linden, Sander and Freeman, Alexandra LJ andMitchell, James and Galvao, Ana B and Zaval, Lisa and Spiegelhalter, David J Communicat-ing uncertainty about facts, numbers and science. Royal Society Open Science 6, 2015

van der Laan, D and de Jonge, Edwin and Solcer, Jessica Effect of Displaying Uncertainty inLine and Bar Charts-Presentation and Interpretation. proceedings of the International Confer-ence on Information Visualization Theory and Applications 2:225232 Citepress, 2015

Presentation material

Presentation Webinar Communication of Uncertainty in Official Data

Recording of the webinar

Recording Webinar Communication of Uncertainty in Official Data