NEWS25 April 2022

Public confidence in official statistics remains high

Brexit News Privacy Trends UK

UK – Trust in official statistics has remained high since the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Public Confidence in Official Statistics 2021 report, produced by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) on behalf of the UK Statistics Authority.


The report found that 87% of people who gave a view trusted the statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a similar level to before the pandemic ( 85% in 2018 ).

Meanwhile awareness of ONS increased, with three-quarters ( 75%) saying they had heard of ONS in 2021, up from 70% in 2018, and 44% saying they had used Covid-19 statistics produced by ONS.

The proportion of people agreeing that official statistics are generally accurate also increased, from 78% in 2018 to 82% in 2021. In 2021, 79% agreed that Covid statistics were accurate.

Overall, almost three-quarters ( 74%) agreed that ONS statistics are produced free from political interference, similar to 2018 ( 73%).

Views about political interference with Covid statistics were more mixed, with 53% agreeing such statistics were free from political interference. In addition, the proportion of people who agree that the government presents official statistics honestly when talking about its policies increased from 31% in 2018 to 35% in 2021.

The survey also found that a large majority ( 90%) agreed that personal information provided to ONS would be kept confidential. Members of the public who had taken part in ONS surveys were even more likely to express this view than those who had not ( 92% and 87% respectively).

Commenting on the findings, NatCen deputy chief executive Gillian Prior said:Official statistics have played a bigger role in our lives during the pandemic than perhaps ever before and this is reflected in increased public awareness of ONS.

“Against this backdrop, public confidence in the accuracy of official statistics has also increased, as has confidence in political figures to present statistics honestly.”