Surveys and studies of public interest are set out in the National Statistical Programme, the document that regulates the production of official statistical information.
Roughly half of Istat’s output consists of economic information: data on the economy have traditionally been considered key to correct government action. However, since the early 1980s social statistics have assumed growing importance and their further exploitation is also advocated by international organisations indicating that demand for such information is felt not only in Italy.
Through general censuses and other total and sample surveys the Institute produces information on various economic, social, territorial and environmental aspects. In particular, the censuses provide a broad scope of data with fine territorial detail. They are crucial in acquiring knowledge of the productive structure and social reality of the Country. The resulting information constitutes an indispensable basis for conducting subsequent surveys and secondary studies, improving the sample selection and gaining in-depth knowledge of the territory and understanding its dynamics.
In order to improve the methodologies used, plan new surveys or extend those already consolidated, Istat is involved in research projects with other national and international bodies, both public and private, with which it stipulates conventions, research protocols and framework agreements. Collaboration projects are undertaken mainly with bodies that belong to central and local administrations (Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Ministries, Regions, Provinces and Municipalities), Universities and other research bodies and institutes.
Istat devotes increasing attention to the transparency of statistical data production processes and to this end issues information and documentation on its surveys and secondary studies. This is the primary objective of the Information System on Quality, which handles metadata and documents statistical production processes. The system pays particular attention to external users by simplifying the channels of access to the information of interest and available data.
On completion of statistical information production processes, Istat makes survey results available to citizens, enterprises and institutions. All published information is accompanied by the related metadata.
The information is released free of charge on this website in the form of press releases, publications, databases and information systems, datasets.
Costs are instead charged for the reproduction of paper publications, CD-ROMs and DVDs, customised data processing services, standard files and commissioned works.