Statistics form the bedrock of our lives. We rely on them for everything from forecasting the weather and elections to preparing for emergencies and predicting disease. This World Statistics Day, Open Data Watch is highlighting some of the most critical statistics from our areas of work and where we can improve.
From monitoring the spread of COVID-19 to evaluating progress, statistics have played a vital role. Yet, out of a total of 122 National Statistics Offices (NSOs) surveyed, more than half indicated that more assistance is greatly needed for financial, technical, training, and infrastructure.
We’re supporting the UN Statistics Division alongside the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data with their COVID-19 response via the COVID-19 Response Hub to ensure that NSOs are adequality supported during what is likely the most challenging them for them in decades, and to encourage the global statistical community to share guidance, actions, tools, and best practices. To address the ongoing need for data-driven decision making during the crisis, we’ve also compiled a myriad of useful articles on the availability, openness, dissemination, and use of COVID-19 data.
The sex-disaggregated data on the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries is out of date. Of 122 countries that have reported COVID-19 cases for women and men, only 89 have data for the most recent month. Deaths are less frequently reported. Out of 85 countries with sex-disaggregated mortality rates, only 64 have data in the last month.
COVID-19 is not gender blind and has exacerbated many gender inequalities. To effectively monitor COVID-19’s impact, we not only need sex-disaggregated data, but also timely and frequent reporting. Moreover, 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) contain targets of importance to women, thirty-two of the SDG indicators have an explicit focus on women’s status and wellbeing, and another 36 can and should be disaggregated by sex to provide a better understanding of the challenges women face. Yet, we are still missing much of the data needed to measure these indicators. In our State of Gender Data Financing report with Data2X, we found that the current gap in financing needed to sustain a core gender data system in lower-income countries is approximately $170 million USD -$240 million USD a year between now and 2030.
Only two out of three territories and areas register at least 90% of births. For death registration, only half of the countries, territories and areas have at least 90% coverage.
Civil Registration and Vital Statistics’ (CRVS) systems are essential for ensuring that people everywhere are counted. They are also a powerful tool for ensuring the visibility of vulnerable populations, including women and girls, but global coverage is poor. Greater investment is needed in CRVS to ensure that the most vulnerable groups are not left behind. Our research with the International Development Research Centre highlights that the cost of improving these crucial systems is relatively modest.
Since 2016, 68% of countries have increased their ODIN score, but the median score remains at 42.
When countries open up their official statistics it helps increase public trust, citizen engagement, collective problem solving, and expose corruption. We’re working with NSOs to open up their official statistics through the Open Data Inventory (ODIN). Stay tuned for the new ODIN website launching next month and the forthcoming report in March 2021.
Aid flows to data and statistics need to double to meet the demands, from approximately $700 million USD to $1.4 billion USD.
Today, many nations lack the necessary timely, granular, and disaggregated data to meet the data demands of the SDGs. We’re advocating for better financing for development data through the Bern Network and the upcoming Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data with Paris21.
Learn more about the Clearinghouse from the World Data Forum session (live or video), Supporting better investments in development data – Mechanisms, actions, and perspectives, on 21 October at 10:00 ET / 16:00 CET.
At the end of the day, statistics are the foundation of a better world. We can and must do more to support statistical progress in countries worldwide.
Happy World Statistics Day!