Official statistics are statistics published by government agencies or other public bodies such as international organizations. They provide quantitative or qualitative information on all major areas of citizens' lives, such as economic and social development, living conditions, health, education, and the environment.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, statistics were a method for counting and listing populations and State resources. The term statistics comes from the Latin status (state) indicating that the origin of the profession related to the needs of governments. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, official statistics are statistics disseminated by the national statistical system, excepting those that are explicitly not to be official".
Of course, governmental agencies at all levels, including municipal, county, and state administrations, may generate and disseminate official statistics. This broader possibility is accommodated by later definitions. For example:
Official statistics result from the collection and processing of data into statistical information by a government institution or international organisation. They are then disseminated to help users develop their knowledge about a particular topic or geographical area, make comparisons between countries or understand changes over time. Official statistics make information on economic and social development accessible to the public, allowing the impact of government policies to be assessed, thus improving accountability.
Official statistics provide a picture of a country or different phenomena through data, and images such as graph and maps. Statistical information covers different subject areas (economic, demographic, social etc.). It provides basic information for decision making, evaluations and assessments at different levels.