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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • For 70 years, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has been providing official data to the Government and people of Jamaica.
  • Another key area that is monitored is the survey of living conditions, done in conjunction with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), which tracks the social welfare of the population.
  • STATIN was established in 1946 as the Central Bureau of Statistics with the passage of the Statistics Act.

For 70 years, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has been providing official data to the Government and people of Jamaica.

STATIN’s mandate includes collecting, compiling, analysing and publishing information relating to commercial, industrial, social and economic engagements, among other activities.

Among these is the population and housing census, which is undertaken every 10 years.

Director General, Carol Coy, tells JIS News that the survey, which was last conducted in 2011, provides detailed data on the population’s size and characteristics.

This is supported by an annual demographics survey which provides estimates that enable the agency to maintain fairly current statistics over the ensuing periods preceding each census exercise.

The Institute also records movements in the gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the economy’s performance on a quarterly basis. Additionally, it produces the quarterly labour force survey which documents employment developments.

Another key area that is monitored is the survey of living conditions, done in conjunction with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), which tracks the social welfare of the population.

Ms. Coy also highlights the international merchandise trade survey which monitors imported and exported goods and services.

She informs that the Institute has commenced documenting and producing information and communications technology (ICT) data, as a result of its impact on and importance to the economy.

It also generates information on the environment as well as the consumer and producer price indices.

STATIN also undertakes a number of surveys on behalf of other government agencies and international organisations.

“One of our recent collaborations was with the Social Development Commission (SDC) where we developed community boundaries and maps,” Ms. Coy points out, noting that this should serve to greatly enhance the census data collation exercise.

Ms. Coy tells JIS News that STATIN has adopted international best practices, which ensures that data are produced at a very high standard by a cadre of highly qualified professionals.

She assures persons that “the information they provide is confidential under the Statistics Act, and we cannot provide this to any other party”.

Ms. Coy underscores the importance of data, particularly in relation to economic growth and national development.

“The Government needs information in order to assess the success of its economic and social policies and to make changes where necessary. It also needs to know which sectors in the economy can drive growth and to see if it is meeting its GDP and inflation targets,” she adds.

Ms. Coy says statistics are also vital in market analyses and guiding business investment decisions.

Over the years, STATIN’s operational effectiveness and efficiency has evolved significantly through the incorporation of an electronic data collection system.

Ms. Coy notes that this facilitates timely transmission and receipt of data from other agencies with similar technology.

During this year, STATIN will be conducting several major surveys. These include a household expenditure survey, which will figure in the composition of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Additionally, a survey will be conducted, aimed at improving STATIN’s business registry and providing more timely and relevant information to stakeholders.

All statistics are available free of cost and can be accessed at the agency’s website at www.statinja.gov.jm.

STATIN was established in 1946 as the Central Bureau of Statistics with the passage of the Statistics Act.

Consequent on legislative amendments in 1955 and 1984, the entity was renamed the Department of Statistics and Statistical Institute of Jamaica, respectively.