International Year of Statistics - 2013

The International Year of Statistics — 2013

Statisticians promote contributions to society during the international year of statistics in 2013

1,400 groups, 111 countries participate in global awareness campaign

The Bureau of Labor Statistics and more than 1,400 organizations in 111 countries will combine energies in 2013 to promote the International Year of Statistics (Statistics2013), a worldwide initiative that will highlight the contributions of the statistics field to find solutions to global challenges.
The goals of this awareness campaign are twofold:

  • Increase public understanding of the power and impact of statistics on all aspects of society
  • Nurture statistics as a profession, especially among high school and college students

Statistics2013 participants include national and international professional societies, universities, schools, businesses, government agencies, and research institutes. These groups will help millions of people understand the value of statistical science through seminars, workshops, and outreach to students and the media.

Statistics—the science of learning from data and of measuring, controlling and communicating uncertainty—is much more than the numbers we see quoted daily in newspapers, by government agencies, and on Wall Street. Statistical science has powerful and far-reaching effects on everyone, yet most people are unaware of how it improves their lives. Our world depends increasingly on this rich volume of data. Statistical analysis extracts information from data to aid decision-making in all types of organizations. Without statistics, life would be very different.

Examples of the impact of statistics abound in our society. For instance, statistics provides the foundation for predicting the weather and other natural hazards, powering Internet search engines, discovering and developing new drugs, and making the world secure and sustainable. Throughout the last two centuries, statistical analysis was indispensable in confirming many of humankind’s greatest scientific discoveries and breakthroughs, such as the Higgs-Boson particle and the agricultural Green Revolution.

Today, statistics is improving the quality of human life on around the world:

  • Africa—Statistical analysis is breaking the cycle of poverty by improving education.
  • Asia—Transportation infrastructure is being improved based on statistical models of people flow.
  • Australia—Statistics was key in catching drug cheats during the 27th Olympic Games in 2000.
  • Europe—Statistical science is a critical tool in planning efficient recycling systems.
  • North America—Statistics is synthesizing evidence that improves treatments for heart conditions.
  • South America—Statistical methods are helping to feed the world by identifying new crop varieties in breeding experiments.

Central features of the Statistics2013 awareness campaign are an informative two-and-a-half-minute video—Why Statistics Is Important to You—that explains how statistics improves the lives of the world’s 7 billion people and its website——divided into four sections:

  • What Is Statistics?—An explanation in easy-to-understand language
  • Stats2013AtSchool—A statistics quiz for students
  • Statistics as a Career—Information about the work of statisticians and careers in statistics
  • Teacher Resources—Primary and secondary school resources, a downloadable flyer and posters

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a participating organization for the International Year of Statistics 2013, and we have several outreach events planned for the coming year:

  • We will highlight relevant articles from our Spotlight on Statistics or Beyond the Numbers series that showcase the use of statistical analysis in economics, labor, and living conditions.
  • The BLS will continue its tradition of supplying resources for students and teachers, which will be updated this year.
  • There will be a Fall Outreach Symposium on November 13 and 14 that will provide information and insights into statistical analysis and how it can be used to solve problems in other disciplines.

The founding organizations of Statistics2013 are the American Statistical Association, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, International Biometric Society, International Statistical Institute (and the Bernoulli Society), and Royal Statistical Society.

For more information:
Wendy L. Martinez

Office of Survey Methods Research


Last Modified Date: April 18, 2013