The Basque Statistics System

The current Spanish Constitution, approved in December 1978, articulates the Spanish State in 17 Autonomous Communities, on of which is the Basque Country or Euskadi, in which the Historic Territories of Alava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa are integrated.

In December 1979 the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country was approved, by which the Basque Country was granted the right to have its own Government and Parliament

The Statute establishes the exclusive power of the Basque Country in the production of statistics for its own purposes. In developing this power, the Basque Government created the Statistics Office in1980, as a central provisional body for the statistical production of Euskadi, thus giving expression to the interest and wish to equip the Basque Country with its own high level administrative statistical unit. Since this date, the production of statistics has been, year after year, an unquestionable development, both in the resources assigned and the technical effort made.

In this way, the Community’s statistical information needs have been met with a suitable level of territorial and sectorial desegregation, in shorter periods and with a more widespread level of diffusion. Moreover, these needs were unable to be met by official state statistics.

In order to set within a frame and rationalise the statistical activity of the Autonomous Community, equiping it with harmonious and structural elements, the Basque Parliament approved, in April 1986, the Statistics Act of the Basque Country. This was the first of its kind in the whole of the Spanish State and created the Basque Statistics Institute (EUSTAT) as an administrative Autonomous Organism.

The Law establishes three fundamental aspects in relation with statistical activity: on the one hand, it sets the general framework for planning and programming statistical operations that must be taken up and developed; on the other hand, it determines the organisation required to define, design, execute and publish such operations and, finally, it regulates in great detail the duty to inform and the aspect of confidentiality to which all the data supplied individually by informers is subject.

The statistical operations to be taken up at each moment are established expressly through the Statistical Plans, which must be approved in the form of a Law by the Basque Parliament. The Plans establish the list of statistical operations to be carried out by the Basque Statistical Organisation over a four year period, and the Organisms responsible for carrying them out.

The Statistical Plans are developed through the Annual Statistical Programmes approved by the Basque Government, where the details of the characteristics of each statistical operation in the Programmes are established, i.e.: objectives, periodicity, informants, Organism responsible for carrying it out, date of publication of the results, costs by stages, etc.

Up to present the Plans for 1989-1992, 1993-1996, 1997-2000, 2001-2004 have been carried out and currently in force is the Basque Statistics Plan 2005-2008, which provides for the execution of 180 statistical operations with a total approximate cost of 59,826,584 €, distributed as follows:

Statistical operations N. of operations
Economic Statistics 70
Population statistics 41
Territorial and environmental statistics 19
Social statistics 19
Statistical Development 16
Diffusion 15

The number of operations taken on, according to the different Plans, has increased steadily: from 111 operations between 1989 and1992, increasing to 119 in the four year period 1993 to1996, 133 in the four year period 1997 to 2000, 181 in the four year period 2001 to 2004 and reaching 180 in the current Plan 2005-2008, with an important rise in levels of effectiveness and efficiency in Basque statistical system activity.

In addition, The Basque Statistics Law created the Basque Statistical Organisation, which is made up of the following bodies and organs:

  1. as bodies responsible for producing statistics: EUSTAT, The Basque Government Departments, the Provincial Councils (Government Organs for each of the three Historic Territories: Alava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa) and the Town Councils.

    Of the 180 operation included in the Basque Statistics Plan 2005-2008, EUSTAT is responsible for carrying out 104 (57.8%) and the rest correspond to the Organisms: 76 (42.2%)

  2. As advice organs:
    • The Basque Statistics Commission, in which the administrative Organisms in charge of carrying out statistics are represented
    • The Basque Statistics Council, where producers and users of statistics meet, and in which, therefore, there are representatives of the Public Administrations, the Basque Parliament, the Provincial Councils (Parliaments for each of the three Historic Territories: Alava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa), Business Associations, Union Associations, Universities that operate in the Autonomous Community, Chambers of Commerce, Consumer Associations and different experts on the subject.

The Basque Statistics Law places EUSTAT as a central element in this Organisation, attributing to it, among other, the following functions and powers:

  1. With reference to the statistical operations included in the Statistical Plans and Annual Statistical Programmes.
    • Direction and co-ordination of statistical actions.
    • Approval of the technical project for each statistical operation, independently of whichever Organism is in charge.
    • Development of statistics that have been expressly commended to it in the Plans and Programmes
    • Publication and diffusion of statistical results
  2. Official representation of the Basque Country in statistical matters, both on a state and international level.
  3. Establishment of the basis for the Statistical Data Bank of the Basque Country, and its implementation and maintenance.
  4. Elaboration and maintenance of integrated systems of demographic, economic and social statistics at all territorial levels.
  5. Harmonisation, integration and co-ordination of the statistical activity of the Basque Statistical Organisation.

To develop its activity in the fields of statistical production, research and development, training etc., EUSTAT has signed collaboration agreements with state Organisms, such as the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) or different Spanish Government Ministries, or with Basque Government Departments, different Universities or Autonomous Communities, etc., while participating actively in international projects and collaborating with Organisms such as the European Union Statistics (EUROSTAT), Swedish Statistics Agencies (SCB), Dutch Agencies (CBS), French Agencies (INSEE), etc, and in trans-frontier projects together with Navarre and the French region of Aquitaine..

EUSTAT is a member of the International Statistics Institute (ISI), the International Association of Official Statistics (IAOS), the International Association of Statistics Researchers (IAAS), and the Comité Interterritorial de Estadística del Estado Español and the Asociation Española de Estadística e Investigation Operativa (EIO).