Research on the Quality of Registers To Make Data Decisions in the Dutch Virtual Census
Eric Schulte Nordholt1, Saskia Ossen2, Piet Daas2
1Division of Social and Spatial Statistics, Statistics Netherlands, The Hague, Netherlands; 2Division of Methodology and Quality, Statistics Netherlands, Heerlen, Netherlands

Since the last census based on a complete enumeration was held in 1971, the willingness of the population in the Netherlands to participate has decreased tremendously. Statistics Netherlands found an alternative in a Virtual Census, by using available registers and surveys as alternative data sources. Advantages of a Virtual Census are that it is cheaper and more socially acceptable. The combined use of registers and surveys for composing the Census however also leads to several methodological challenges. One of them is determining the effect of the quality of the sources. For registers, for instance, the collection and maintenance is beyond the control of the Statistical Agency. It is therefore important that the Statistical Agency is able to determine the quality of the sources used. Insight into the quality of the sources used enables a well thought-out comparison between comparable information in various sources.

Independently from the research on improving the Virtual Census, Statistics Netherlands is busily involved in developing systematic methods for determining the quality of registers. For this purpose a quality framework has been developed. The framework consists of three high level views on the quality of administrative data: the Source view, the Metadata view, and the Data view. To evaluate the first two views in a systematic way a checklist has been developed which has already been successfully applied to several data sources. Current research focuses on developing a systematic way for evaluating data quality.

In this contribution we explore the possibilities for using the insights obtained in the research on the quality of registers to improve decisions made in the Virtual Census about which sources should be used for deriving or estimating which variables. This is also beneficial for the research on quality as it can be tested whether the approach developed is also applicable to Censuses.

Keywords: Quality of registers; Checklist; Census

Biography: Eric Schulte Nordholt is a senior researcher and project leader at Statistics Netherlands. After graduating in Mathematics and Econometrics, he joined Statistics Netherlands in 1992. He first worked in the department of Statistical Methods and since 1996 he is working in Social Statistics. In 1995 he had a secondment at Eurostat in Luxembourg and in 2006 at Statistics New Zealand. Eric Schulte Nordholt is Statistics Netherlands' advisor on the Statistical Disclosure Control of social data and contributed several times to statistical courses. He is responsible for the Dutch Virtual Census where all tables are estimated based on already existing data sources (registers and surveys). Eric Schulte Nordholt presented his work at various conferences and has published in different refereed journals. Eric Schulte Nordholt is a member of the ISI, IAOS, IASS and Netherlands Society For Statistics and Operations Research.