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This Stats Brief gives an overview of big data sources that can be used to produce population and social statistics and presents country examples in the use of mobile phone data, sales data, Earth Observation data, social media and other online data to produce mobility-related statistics, labour statistics, health statistics and SDG indicators.

This Brief is part of ESCAP’s series on the use of non-traditional data sources for official statistics.


This Stats brief is prepared by Irina Bernal, Consultant, UNESCAP Statistics Division, Gemma Van Halderen, Director, ESCAP Statistics Division, Tanja Sejersen, Statistician, UNESCAP Statistics Division, and, with valuable inputs from Petra Nahmias, Chief of Population and Social Statistics Section, ESCAP Statistics Division and Afsaneh Yazdani, Statistician, UNESCAP Statistics Division[i]


[i] Additional inputs to this Stats Brief have been received from Statistics New Zealand; Jisook Yoon, Director, Big Data and Statistics Division, KOSTAT; Young Ran Kim, Deputy Director, Big Data and Statistics Division, KOSTAT; Ramiz Uddin, Head of Experimentation at Accelerator Lab, UNDP Bangladesh; Sangita Paul, Data Scientist, a2i, Bangladesh; Anders Holmberg, Chief Methodologist and General Manager, Methodology Division, Australia Bureau of Statistics; Ric Clarke, Director of Emerging Data and Methods, Australia Bureau of Statistic; Shorena Tisklauri, Chief Specialist of Methodology and Quality Management Division, National Statistics Office of Georgia; Ali Said Director, Statistical Analysis and Development, BPS Statistics Indonesia; Setia Pramana Big Data Specialist, BPS Statistics Indonesia; Liben Hou, Deputy Director Division of General Affairs, Department of Statistical Design and Management, National Bureau of Statistics of China. The brief also benefitted from discussions and presentations during the Asia-Pacific Stats Café held on November 2, 2020.

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