Press release

Public awareness and trust in official statistics remains high

The Public Confidence in Official Statistics report provides a benchmark for trust in official statistics.
  • Publishing date:
    14 May 2024

The latest Public Confidence in Official Statistics report, published today, found 74% of respondents had heard of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and 87% of respondents indicated they trust the ONS, the same proportion as 2021.

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) is commissioned by the UK Statistics Authority to conduct this research every two years, providing a benchmark for trust in official statistics. 

Those who have used official statistics were more likely to trust ONS (99%) than those who have not used them. 82% of non-users also said they trusted ONS. 

There was strong support for the idea that statistics produced by ONS are important to understand our country. In 2023, 90% agreed this was the case, similar to 2021 and 2018, when levels of agreement with this statement were already very high.

The main reason people gave for trusting ONS was that they did not have a vested interest in or manipulate the results. The main reasons people gave for not trusting ONS related to how statistics were used by the media and politicians. 

Most respondents tended to agree that official statistics are accurate (83%) and most also indicated that they agree that statistics produced by ONS are free from political interference (72%). 

Respondents had mixed views on whether specific statistics are free from political interference. While over three-quarters of respondents (76%) are estimated to have agreed this is the case for the census, the figures for crime statistics (53%) and employment statistics (56%) are much lower.

Respondents to the 2023 survey were more likely to disagree that statistics have helped them make decisions about their life, with overall agreement dropping from 52% to 40%.
92% of respondents who reported that they had taken part in an ONS survey agreed that personal information provided to ONS would be kept confidential. 

Although respondents did not necessarily know about the UK Statistics Authority or the Office for Statistics Regulation, there was strong support for their role. The survey shows that 95% of respondents agreed there should be an independent body to speak out against the misuse of statistics, and 94% agree such a body should ensure that statistics are produced free from political interference.

As in previous years, this survey asked about the level of trust in ONS compared to other institutions in British public life. Of all institutions included in this question, ONS had the highest level of trust of all (87%) among respondents, similar to levels of trust in the courts (82%) or the Bank of England (79%). 

Use of official statistics has continued to rise for all data series, except for the census which has seen a five percentage point decline since 2021.

For more information please contact:

Katie Crabb, Head of Marketing and Communications
National Centre for Social Research
t: 0207 549 8504, e:

For queries about the UK Statistics Authority, please email: