Few issues are as important to so many people as the income they receive. And yet few issues are as complex to illustrate, using official statistics, in ways that are understandable. Understanding trends in levels of income and earnings in society is an essential factor in understanding trends in living standards and being able to develop policy in an informed way.
There are numerous sources of official statistics on income and earnings, and these are produced by different government departments. The statistics are derived from a variety of different data sources, including both administrative and survey data. The derived statistics are analysed and presented in different ways reflecting the data source and the purpose of the analysis.
This Review considers the way in which official statistics about income and earnings, and their components, are presented, with a particular focus on:
- Coherence – the extent to which official statistics drawn from different sources, and about different components of income and earnings, complement one another; also, whether there are any significant gaps in the statistical picture.
- Accessibility – the extent to which users of official statistics on income and earnings are able to find, understand and use the statistics; and whether related statistics are presented in ways that help users to understand the interrelationships.