About Istat

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Organisation and activity

The Italian National Institute of Statistics, a public research organisation, is the main producer of official statistics in the service of citizens and policy-makers. It operates in complete independence and continuous interaction with the academic and scientific communities.

The history of Istat starts in 1926, when the Central Institute of Statistics was created under law n. 1162: the idea of statistics as a tool for understanding phenomena started to grow along with the conviction that all surveys should be carried out by a single independent body.

Since 1989 Istat has been performing the role of directing, coordinating, and providing technical assistance and training within the National Statistical System (Sistan).

The modernisation programme, launched in 2016, aims to enrich the supply and quality of the information produced, while improving the effectiveness and efficiency of overall activity.

The mission of the Italian National Institute of Statistics is to serve the community by producing and communicating high-quality statistical information, analyses and forecasts in complete independence and in accordance with the strictest ethical and professional principles and most up-to-date scientific standards, in order to develop detailed knowledge of Italy’s environmental, economic and social dimensions at various levels of geographical detail and to assist all members of society (citizens, administrators etc.) in decision-making processes.

Istat aims to be an innovative administration which is committed to serving the community by placing value on the professionalism and integrity of its staff, creating appropriate working conditions and minimising its impact on the environment.

Istat respects the privacy of respondents, protects the confidentiality of the data that it gathers and carries out its activities in a transparent, independent manner.

Istat is oriented towards seeking to use available resources in the most effective, efficient way possible, promotes the development of Sistan and works with other organisations within the National Statistical System and public administration, with the research community and with civil society, with the additional purpose of improving the level of awareness and understanding with regard to statistics.

Istat is a member of the European Statistical System and works with other organisations within the international statistical system.

  1. To evaluate information requirements through ongoing dialogue with users.
  2. To produce relevant statistical information for national and international users in accordance with the highest standards of quality, as well as strict ethical and professional principles.
  3. To publish and communicate effectively statistical information and results of analyses conducted in order to foster awareness of Italy’s economic, social and environmental dimensions and to improve decision-making processes on the part of private subjects and public institutions.
  4. To conduct methodological, applied research with the aim of improving processes involved in the production of statistical information, and contributing to the knowledge of Italy’s environmental, economic and social dimensions.
  5. To develop the human capital of Istat and Sistan, to strengthen statistical training for the public administration and promote statistical literacy in the Country
  6. Enhance technological innovation and management and administrative efficiency in Istat, in order to improve the quality of statistical production processes and working conditions of its staff
  7. To develop the National Statistical System in order to extend the range and quality of statistical information provided to the community and contribute to the strengthening of the European Statistical System
  8. Create, enhance and update the statistical registers of individuals, households and economic operators in view of the ongoing census, thus increasing the amount of information at the local level and in a longitudinal perspective
  9. Complete the “Stat2015” project by innovating production processes and products within a coherent conceptual framework and in line with international best practices
  10. Promote the coordinated development of the information systems of public administration and their use for statistical purposes. This would increase the information available maximizing the integration of sources while minimizing the statistical burden on respondents

Since 1989 Istat has been performing the role of directing, coordinating, and providing technical assistance and training within the National Statistical System (Sistan). The System was established under Legislative Decree 322/89 in order to rationalise the production and publication of information and to optimise resources allocated to official statistics.

Sistan is made up of Istat, central and branch statistical departments of Public Administrations, of local and regional bodies, Chambers of Commerce, other public bodies and administrations providing statistical information.

European Statistical SystemThe European Statistical System (ESS) includes: Eurostat (the statistical office of the EU), the statistical offices of all the Member States (the so-called National Statistical Institutes) and other institutions producing European statistics.

The European Statistical System guarantees that European statistics produced in all EU-Member States are reliable, following common criteria and definitions and processing data in an appropriate way so that they are always comparable among the different EU countries (ESS Vision 2020).

The ESS is currently regulated by the new European Statistical Law, passed in 2015 with Regulation (EC) 2015/759 of the European Parliament and the Council, modifying Regulation (CE) n. 223/2009.

The European Statistical System Committee is the nucleus of the ESS and comprises of Eurostat and the presidents of the national statistics offices of the Member States and EFTA countries. This Committee provides guidance for planning, producing and disseminating European statistics, and is involved in the process of compiling and adopting the European statistical legislation.

The ESS draws up a European Statistical Programme, which includes five-year statistical planning. This Programme is passed by the European Parliament and the Council.

In order to ensure that users’ needs are taken into account when compiling the European Statistical Programme, the European Statistical Advisory Committee was created. It represents users, informants, academic and social institutions and the Community administration.

Although the planning of activities is carried out jointly by the National Statistical Institutes and Eurostat, the production of harmonised national statistics falls within the competence of Member States’ authorities, whereas Eurostat collects the data provided by the States, analyses them, and based on them, offers comparable and harmonised figures. This contributes to the Community policy-making process.

Eurostat, moreover, is committed to ensuring the functioning of this complex system (different languages, very diverse forms of administrative organization, specific nomenclatures, etc.) and, accordingly the coherence and quality of data produced.