According to the Statistics Act, data collected for other purposes should be primarily used in the compilation of statistics. Direct data collection should only be used if data are not available from other sources. In fact, Statistics Finland obtains the majority, over 95 per cent of the basic data needed for statistics from administrative sources and only collects the remaining data by direct data collections.
Finland is one of the world leaders in exploiting administrative datafiles for statistics production. The most important administrative files that are used in the production of statistics contain data describing education and studying, employment and retirement, taxation, and enterprises and establishments. As an example, register-based population censuses are drawn in Finland by exploiting around thirty administrative and statistical data files.
Statistics Finland collects data with face-to-face and telephone interviews, postal inquiries or electronically. When collecting data, Statistics Finland must inform the respondents in writing about the purpose the collected data will be used for and the procedures that will be applied in collecting; whether and why the provision of data is obligatory or whether it is voluntary, and what the rights of the data suppliers are; how the data will be protected and how long they will be stored, as well as other essential factors bearing on the provision of the data. With the exception of state authorities, those obliged to provide data are given feedback about the collected data.
Statistics Finland aims at keeping the data providers' response burden as low as possible. The ruling principle is that collections must be planned carefully so that data providers are only asked direct for those data that are necessary in the compilation of statistics. Response burden is reduced by developing electronic collecting and increasing multiple usability of collected data.
Last updated 23.11.2005