Towards an European statistics system: harmonised data sources on population and households in Europe

Fernando Gil Alonso, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

This paper presents, analyses and classifies in a critical way the available (in different degrees) harmonised data on population and households at the European level. Following the introduction that situates the improvement of these data sources in the context of the increasing need for information generated by the European integration and enlargement process, the paper is divided into two main parts. The first presents the basic sources of harmonised demographic data while the second focuses on those sources that allow to study the socio-demographic characteristics of the European households. Conclusions underline that despite the existing deficiencies (especially visible in the field of migration), the volume and quality of harmonised data is gradually increasing thanks, on the one hand, to the existing co-operation among the European national statistical institutes and, on the other hand, to the work done by international organisms such as Eurostat, the Council of Europe and United Nations in organising, centralising and harmonising demographic data collection in Europe. Even if the available harmonised data mainly cover EU and EFTA countries, the 2004 European Union enlargement and the increasingly narrower co-operation between all these international institutions has recently increased the amount of information available on Central and Eastern European countries (including ex-Soviet Union countries). Step by step, we are going towards setting up a harmonised statistical system covering the whole continent.

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Presented in Session 39: International data