The "Urban Indicators" Statistical Operation is based on a collection of data, providing information and comparable measurements on the different aspects of the quality of urban life in cities.
The final objective of the Project is to contribute to the improvement of urban quality of life: it favours the exchange of experiences among European cities; it helps identify the best practices; it facilitates the comparative assessment at European level and provides information on the dynamics within the cities and with their environment.
Directed by the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy via Eurostat and developed by the National Statistics Institutes of the Member States, its main purpose is the collection, estimation and publishing of socio-economic statistical data in order to know and measure the quality of life in a specific amount of territories.
In the scope of the project more than 300 objective variables were obtained, which encompassed 9 dominions or components on the level of life: demography, social aspects, economic aspects, social participation, education and training, the environment, connections and transport, information and culture society and leisure. The scope of the Project is very wide, and not only collects information for cities but also for large metropolitan areas around these cities as well as at district level or similar within them.
The Urban Audit project requires that the INE collects and supplies Eurostat with a wide range of variables regarding the economic, demographic and social situation of most Spanish medium and large-sized cities (municipalities). At said level, Urban Audit currently contains 171 variables and 62 indicators. These indicators are derived from the variables collected by the European Statistical System.
Nevertheless, dissemination via the INE website is restricted to a selection of 39 indicators. The most important novelties in the 2019 edition are the consideration of gender indicators and the incorporation of 2 new indicators. Regarding gender and taking into account the availability of information, for 11 of the indicators that already exist have been added men and women in addition to the total. The 2 new indicators are the "average number of children per woman" and the “green urban areas and sports and leisure facilities over continuous residential urban fabric”.
Due to the fact that it is a study that collects information from several social and economic dominions, the classification systems are those corresponding to the numerous surveys and statistics used as sources of information. The following national classifications are used among others: National Classification of Economic Activities CNAE-2009, National Classification of Occupations NCO-11 and National Classification of Education CNED-2014.
Regarding territorial units, they are all encoded according to a series of criteria established by Eurostat and the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy.
The indicators and variables cover several aspects of the quality of life, such as demography, housing, economic activity, labor market, income, education, the environment and tourism, among others.
Since the information is collected from different registers, censuses and social and economic surveys, the statistical unit is applicable to each one of these statistics.
As the information is collected from different registers, censuses and social and economic surveys, it is not applicable to a single statistical population. The statistical population corresponds to these registers, censuses and surveys used as sources of information. The indicators refer to the statistical population established in each one of the statistics and surveys. Nevertheless, It may be stated that for most of the variables, the objective statistical universe are the regular residents of a specific geographical area.
EU Member States, Switzerland, Norway and Turkey are represented in the data collection. In Spain, the publication "Urban Indicators" collects information at the following spatial levels, similar to those of the European project, although the number of territorial units in some of the aforementioned levels is slightly lower:
The time coverage of the European project is 1990-2018. The Spanish publication presents information from 2010 to the latest available. See the details in point 5 regarding the reference period.
The data has the base period of the surveys and statistics that serve as a source of information.
The unit of measurement varies from indicator to indicator; from variable to variable. For most indicators the unit of measures are number of persons or percentage.
2017 and 2018 are the reference years for the main data collection of the European project, currently in process. It exits information of all the years after 2001, as well as for 1996 and 1991, that were the reference of the compilation denominated "historical". However, the publication on the INE website will only present information from 2010 onwards, and it offers results as up-to-date as possible based on the availability of information.
The compilation and dissemination of the data are governed by the Statistical Law No. 12/1989 "Public Statistical Function" of May 9, 1989, and Law No. 4/1990 of June 29 on “National Budget of State for the year 1990" amended by Law No. 13/1996 "Fiscal, administrative and social measures" of December 30, 1996, makes compulsory all statistics included in the National Statistics Plan. The National Statistical Plan 2009-2012 was approved by the Royal Decree 1663/2008. It contains the statistics that must be developed in the four year period by the State General Administration's services or any other entity dependent on it. All statistics included in the National Statistics Plan are statistics for state purposes and are obligatory. The National Statistics Plan 2017-2020, approved by Royal Decree 410/2016, of 31 October, is the Plan currently implemented. This statistical operation has governmental purposes, and it is included in the National Statistics Plan 2017-2020. (Statistics of the State Administration).
All supply of urban statistics data is based on a volunteer agreement, since there is no community legislation on this matter. The Urban Audit Project has been in operation for over 15 years, and despite the fact that it still does not have its own regulation, it constitutes a consolidated task between European regional and urban statistics. Nevertheless, works are being performed to carry out a proposal that allows the availability of a legal base for specific territorial classifications and typologies, some of which are part of the Urban Audit.
In the European project, the frequency of the data is 3 years, however, some indicators are compiled annually. The Eurostat database is updated every quarter, depending on the availability of new and revised data. The dissemination in the INE will also depend on the availability of information, but it has been done once a year.
The links will be available further on.
INEbase is the system the INE uses to store statistical information on the Internet. It contains all the information the INE produces in electronic formats. The primary organisation of the information follows the theme-based classification of the Inventory of Statistical Operations of the State General Administration . The basic unit of INEbase is the statistical operation, defined as the set of activities that lead to obtaining statistical results on a determined sector or subject based on the individually collected data. Also included in the scope of this definition are synthesis preparation.
During 2018 there were a total of 16,272 accesses to the statistical operation "Urban Indicators": 9,991 to the pc-axis tables, 97 to the maps and 6,184 to the publication.
Methodological manual on city statistics, 2017 edition:
This standardized methodological report contains all of the elements of what is considered a "User-oriented quality report" for this operation.
Quality assurance framework for the INE statistics is based on the ESSCoP, the European Statistics Code of Practice made by EUROSTAT. The ESSCoP is made up of 16 principles, gathered in three areas: Institutional Environment, Processes and Products. Each principle is associated with some indicators which make possible to measure it. In order to evaluate quality, EUROSTAT provides different tools: the indicators mentioned above, Self-assessment based on the DESAP model, peer review, user satisfaction surveys and other proceedings for evaluation.
Ensuring the quality of the Urban Audit is a comprehensive process. Three main validation controls are performed regularly: univariate, multivariate and detection of irregular values.
To ensure a high quality of the data, certain validation procedures that already exist have been analysed and adapted to the latest standards. A complete set of validation rules has been developed.
The collection of "Urban Audit" data provides information and comparable measurements on the different aspects of the quality of urban life in European cities. The indicators selected to be published on the INE website are among the most relevant, and many of them are disseminated via the main websites and publications of the EU.
The main appeal is based on providing information at municipal, supramunicipal and sub-municipal levels for most of the socio-economic scopes in said territories. Many of those indicators come from variables that have been object of estimation, which adds value to the Project since few or no surveys include information for such geographical levels.
The Population Census is one of the main sources of information. Many other information comes from administrative registers, which decreases the burden and cost. The main inconvenience appears in the inter-census years since the availability of data decreases.
Some data have limitations that are inherent to sampling statistical operations, such as non-response and sampling errors or variation coefficients of the estimates.
The information is not only subjected to an internal validation but is also object of a strict validation check by Eurostat in order to detect inconsistencies or errors.
Users' needs and the requirements of the interested party are compiled in several forums (Work groups, Conferences, meetings with administrative bodies, etc). In general, it may be said that the 2 main users are Eurostat and the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. OECD and other EU bodies also make a substantial use of the Project data. Each country, however, has its own set of users.In Spain, the dissemination of the Project was very scarce, but it has improved markedly since the publication of the publication on the INE website. This opening has allowed us to better understand the needs of many users according with the consultations that are received.
One of the main needs of the Project that was not fulfilled in the past was the availability of updated information. This problem has been corrected with the insertion of annual cycles of data collection.
The INE has carried out general user satisfaction surveys in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 and it plans to continue doing so every three years. The purpose of these surveys is to find out what users think about the quality of the information of the INE statistics and the extent to which their needs of information are covered. In addition, additional surveys are carried out in order to acknowledge better other fields such as dissemination of the information, quality of some publications...
On the INE website, in its section Methods and Projects / Quality and Code of Practice / INE quality management / User surveys are available surveys conducted to date.(Click next link)
The users' reactions (opinions and suggestions) are collected in several forums. The main needs of the Project are defined by the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, in collaboration with Eurostat, in order to obtain the largest possible base of information for the cohesion policy in the EU.
Through the urban and regional Work Groups NUAC and RESCO, respectively, it has been possible to know the availability of information from a supply perspective, and to a lower extent, the need of information from the demand point of view. At the same time, the two large aforementioned organisations and others such as OECD have held meetings regarding regional and urban matters.
The Standing Committee of Regional and Urban Statistics (SCORUS) is among one of the many forums in which experiences are exchanged.
The publication "Urban Indicators", has aroused great interest in the three past editions by the numerous articles that appeared in the press as well as by the consultations received from users.
The Urban Audit Project has been in operation for over 10 years, and despite the fact that it still does not have its own Regulation, it is a consolidated task between European regional and urban statistics. In order to address the problem and attain a larger amount of information, the European Commission grants aids that are formalised by means of an Agreement on Subsidies. The INE has availed itself to the agreement during the last cycles of data collection. This formalisation in itself implies the supply of the maximum amount of information available for all the required variables, for all the established spacial units and for all the required reference years.
Eurostat aims at attaining 80% of the required information. In general, the INE, has exceeded said level in the last data collection cycles, though it is a general aim, since the availability of data differs according to the dominion, the territorial level and the reference period. For the publication "Urban Indicators", the completeness rate is R1=85%.
Since it is a publication that is obtained from several statistical sources, in some cases the latter may be affected by various errors. The main guarantee in the accuracy of the provided information is the existence of expert groups with a thorough knowledge of the different statistical sources and their problems as well as their interrelations. These groups adjust to the regulations and different methodologies and work to obtain reliable data.
Given the diversity of sources which provide this research with data, it is difficult to assess the sampling and non-sampling errors it is affected by.
Given the diversity of sources which provide this research with data, it is difficult to assess the sampling and non-sampling errors it is affected by.
Generally speaking, the time that elapses between the reference date of the data and the publishing of statistical results is approximately 24 months.
The Agreement on Subsidies that is formalised for the collection of data in each cycle is 24 months. There is no legal period to provide the data during that time, nevertheless, the INE sends partial information to Eurostat as soon as it has information that is considered to be complete enough (for a specific year or for a complete geographical level or for a particular variable or group of them belonging to a dominion as a whole, etc). Delays, which are understood as exceeding the 24 months, are infrequent and are usually consequence of detecting an update or modification in the source data (which implies having to review the information that has already been sent) or due to inserting "last minute" methodological or territorial changes.
However, for the indicators selected in the Spanish publication, is established an update and annual publication, although it is not always done in a specific month of the year, but it is usually presented in June.
From the published data point of view, the geographical comparability depends on the territorial level:
At municipal level, the results of the information that is directly available are perfectly comparable due to the fact that the procedure is the same. If the information requires an estimation, the method used is understood to produce comparable results for a specific geographical level. Comparability is also performed in the supramunicipal and conurbation levels. At sub-municipal level, comparability shall be performed between the different districts or areas, within the municipality in question.
Nevertheless, data comparability among European territorial levels is limited and not always possible, sometimes due to the drifting of definitions, the use of different data sources and application of estimation methods that are completely different. In any case, to avoid erroneous comparisons, the information on data sources and the statistical base is always explained in the set of data.
Coherence of the information contained in the publication is the coherence of the information contained in statistics and surveys, which serve as the base for different indicators.
The 2011 Census has the advantage of providing substantial information but poses a time-related problem, for example, for demographic indicators. In these indicators, the Municipal Register at 1 January 2011 has been used as the source so that they are coherent with the information of the rest of inter-census years, whose source is the Municipal Register.
2 indicators have been used for the "number of dwellings". One whose source is the land registry and another for 2011, whose source is the Census. In 2011, both presented different results.
The use of the different results provided by the different statistical sources does not indicate a coherence problem, but presents a difference between the measurements of the variable or indicator.
The information contained in the published indicators has complete internal coherence, since the base information coming from statistics and surveys is validated by the production units.
The estimates, for example in the main labour market indicators, have enough internal coherence since they are based on the same set of microdata and are calculated using the same estimation methods. When grouping at provincial level the estimations obtained regarding "economically active persons", the results are similar to those of the figures of economically active persons of the EAPS, in which the bigger the group means the better the approximation. The municipal estimations grouped by provinces of the "unemployed persons", coincide with the unemployment figures of the EAPS.
Although the Eurostat methodology refers to population over 15 years of age for certain labour market variables, the indicators of the publication have included population over 16 years of age in order to maintain coherence with the EAPS, since it has been the main source of reference in the performed estimations.
This publication constitutes an extract of the Urban Audit Project, which is developed in the Subdirectorate General Socio-Demographic Statistics of the INE. The Project as a whole, is included in the Agreement on Subsidies provided by Eurostat to the participating States. For the current data collection cycle called "Data collection for sub-national statistics (mainly cities)", there has been an estimation of the total costs for Spain of 314,045.22 euros, and a maximum subsidy on the part of the European Commission of 219,832.00 euros. This "Action" will last 24 months, having started 1st May 2018.
Regardless of the aforementioned subsidy, at a national level, the estimate of the necessary budget appropriation for 2019 Annual Programme of the National Statistical Plan 2017-2020 is 159.43 thousand euros.
There is no burden on the respondent since the base information comes from surveys and statistics that have already been published.
The INE of Spain has a policy which regulates the basic aspects of statistical data revision, seeking to ensure process transparency and product quality. This policy is laid out in the document approved by the INE board of directors on 13 March of 2015, which is available on the INE website, in the section "Methods and projects/Quality and Code of Practice/INE’s Quality management/INE’s Revision policy" (link).
This general policy sets the criteria that the different type of revisions should follow: routine revision- it is the case of statistics whose production process includes regular revisions-; more extensive revision- when methodological or basic reference source changes take place-; and exceptional revision- for instance, when an error appears in a published statistic-.
Preliminary data is not published.
Since the collected information is very extensive, there may be errors in the data. The most detected errors are corrected continuously.
In most cases, the data has been obtained from the censuses, the different administrative and statistical registers as well as the national and local databases. Another important part of the work is obtained by applying different estimation methods.
For the information included in this publication, the main registers used are the following:
The Population and Housing Censuses are the most relevant source of information used for the data whose collection is direct as well as for the estimation processes applied. In these processes, besides the Censuses and Municipal Register, the Economically Active Population Survey constitutes another one of the most important sources. Others surveys and statistics that serve as a source of data are the VS (Vital Statistics) and the Hotel Occupancy Survey. The CBR (Central Business Register) is another set of information used by some indicators.
Data are collected annually, but many indicators are only available in census years.
Data collection corresponds to the different surveys and statistics that serve as a source of information for the indicators. The Urban Audit team in the Subdirectorate collects all of that information and includes it in a database, which is the base for the compilation of indicators. There is a NUAC (National Urban Audit Coordinator) in each State participating in the Project. The NUAC is responsible for the information collection in the INE and is considered the coordinator by Eurostat.
The estimation processes are carried out by the same team, which generally use SAS to do so, and also use the data coming from several sources, mainly the Population and Housing Censuses, the Municipal Register and the Economically Active Population Survey.
Different verifications of data are performed before publishing:
The National Statistics Offices collect the data. All the available statistical data (INE, municipal authorities, etc) are collected and sent to Eurostat. Unfortunately, not all information is directly available. Many variables have to be estimated or adjusted to the established definitions and this is the task that specifically constitutes the great added value of the Project. In the INE almost all surveys have a regional breakdown, at NUTS 2 or NUTS 3 level, but the municipal level is much more difficult to obtain. The Census, the population registers and the Economically Active Population Survey are some of the main sources on which the estimations are based.
The Urban Audit project requires that the INE supplies a wide range of indicators regarding the economic, demographic and social situations of the Spanish municipalities. This information shall be provided at highly broken down levels over an annual base, even though the frequency can be extended depending on the type of variable.
The need to carry out calculations in different aggregation levels is an essential factor in the determination of the estimation process, since there has to be a formal coherence in the figures at different aggregation levels. In this way, when calculating the value of a variable given for the city of Barcelona, this estimation has to be coherent with the estimation calculated for the FUA (Functional Urban Area) of Barcelona. For this reason, the methodological proposals that have been developed are based on the estimation of all Spanish municipalities, and subsequently the FUAs are calculated by means of the aggregation of the municipal figures.
In all cases, the calculation proposals combine the use of the administrative registers and the statistical techniques based on modelling. The following scenarios are distinguished:
• The relevant variable is an administrative register in itself.
• The relevant variable may be obtained by means of the direct estimation based on sampling data.
• The relevant variable is available via the sampling information, but not at the breakdown level required for the Urban Audit project.
Of the aforementioned cases, the most relevant is the third case. Sampling information is available at a greater level of aggregation and there is an administrative register that allows carrying out the necessary calculations.
For example, to estimate the Economically Active population based on the EAPS data, the sample is obtained classified by economically active persons, provinces, age and sex, and the data is quarterly. With this sample, the probability of being economically active depending on the age and province of residence is calculated for each quarter and sex. To do so, a Generalized linear mixed model is used for the binary response variable considering a random effect, the province. Once the probabilities are estimated for a quarter, they are applied to the population estimated for the demographic variables at municipal level by age and sex. To obtain the municipal Economically active persons, this population is multiplied by the probability of that same age, sex and province to which the municipality belongs. The economically active persons are obtained by calculating the average quarterly Economically active persons for that year. When grouping at provincial level the estimations obtained, the results are similar to those of the figures of economically active persons of the EAPS, in which the bigger the group means the better the approximation.
No seasonal adjustments are made.