The development of interwar Lithuanian statistics is divided into two stages: 1918–1929 and 1930–1940.
The main task of the Department of General Statistics, later – the Central Statistical Bureau, was to determine the population of the independent Lithuania and to lay the basis for foreign trade, industry and price statistics. In 1923, the first Population Census took place in the independent Lithuania. Having carried out the Population Census, the Central Statistical Bureau started organising other statistical areas. In 1923, the Agricultural Statistics Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and State Assets was affiliated to the Central Statistical Bureau. The organisation of current population statistics encompassed natural and mechanical population increase, public health, education and justice statistics. Up to 1930, agricultural statistics were based on reports from agricultural reporters and county and regional agronomists. The comprehensive management of labour, industrial production, trade enterprises, patients' funds statistics was started in 1929–1930. The collection of foreign trade statistics in Lithuania was launched on 8 May 1919, i.e. from the day of the pronouncement on the temporary Lithuanian customs tariff. First, data were collected based on general customs information; from 1923, the filling in of special cards meant for the purpose of foreign trade statistics was started at customs; in 1925, a system of statistical declarations was introduced. International payments statistics were managed by the Central Statistical Bureau. The Lithuanian balance of payments, for the first time compiled in 1927, covered data for the years 1924–1926. Analogous balances were compiled on an annual basis, in pursuance of the principles recommended by the League of Nations, according to an established system of strategic income and expenditure groups. Data for most of the balance sheet items were collected from State, municipal and private institutions. Information on international payments of Klaipėda Region was collected and provided by the Klaipėda Region Statistical Bureau.
After the adoption of the Law on State Statistics on 24 June 1930, the second development stage of statistics of the independent Lithuania started. In 1930–1940, the production of family budget and consumption, Lithuanian international payments statistics was launched, international cooperation of Lithuanian statisticians intensified, economic conjuncture statistics were steadily expanding, systematic statistical observation of construction was launched. The Economic Conjuncture Division of the Central Statistical Bureau managed price, finance and monetary, communication, construction, fishing, excise goods and monopolies, credit, cooperation, public companies, pension statistics and the compilation of the balance of payments. In 1930, the collection of statistical data on pensioners was launched. In pursuance of the programme established by the International Institute of Agriculture, an Agricultural Census of Lithuania was conducted in 1930. Due to the lack of resources, it was only in 1938 that Lithuania joined the International Convention relating to Economic Statistics, adopted by the League of Nations in 1928.
In the Soviet period, statistics, whenever possible, reflected the current socioeconomic situation and were oriented to the monitoring of the implementation of planned tasks. In industry statistics, data on industrial enterprises, production of goods in volume and value terms, productive capacity, cost price of basic goods, the number of employees, their occupational and age structure, earnings, labour productivity, etc. were produced. In transport statistics, data on all kinds of transport activity, the number of private cars were produced. In construction and capital investment statistics, information on capital investment by purpose and industry, activity of construction organisations, structures being built and those completed was produced. Moreover, agricultural production, land use, farm activity, agricultural labour statistics were produced. They were comparable with those of contemporary union republics, while certain indicators – yield, animal productivity, manufacture of products and consumption per capita – with those of other countries. High importance was attached to domestic trade statistics: what retail trade funds would be allocated, how Lithuanian people would be provided with goods – it all depended on these indicators. In 1962, statistical observation of new forms of technology and work organisation, as well as technical progress statistics, was launched. In 1979, the observation and recording of the implementation of environmental protection measures, as well as production of natural resources and environmental protection statistics, was launched. In cooperation with finance, banking and other professionals, estimates of financial flows between Lithuania and the former Soviet Union were made; the compilation of interindustry balance, production of imports and exports statistics, calculation of gross national product, national income were launched. Population budget statistics reflected the structure of income and expenditure of the population. In the 80s, social statistics detached from general statistics – to include law and order, crime and similar statistics. Population, health care, culture and education statistics were produced. In preparation for the census of the year 1959, a Population Census Division was established, which organised censuses, prepared and published their results. Four population censuses were carried out – in 1959, 1970, 1979 and 1989. The censuses fairly accurately reflected the demographic and ethnic composition of the population, rising overall level of education, occupational structure of workers in various branches of industry. The results of the last census, carried out on the eve of the restoration of independence, were successfully used in the public institutions of Lithuania.
After the restoration of independence, measures were taken for the reorganisation of statistics. From 1990, the active creation of a system based on the principles of a democratic state was launched in Lithuanian statistics. The Law on Statistics of the Republic of Lithuania, adopted by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania in 1993, defined the main provisions for the collection, ensuring confidentiality, aggregation, publication and use of statistical data. From 1992, Lithuania joined the European Comparison Programme, whose purpose is to calculate purchasing power parities (PPPs) of national currencies and, based on PPPs, to make international comparisons of the main macroeconomic indicator – gross domestic product (GDP). The comparability of statistical information is ensured by the use of European and international classifications, which were particularly intensively prepared in 1997–1999 from Phare funds. A Central Classifications Database was created; in 2005, Statistics Lithuania was delegated the function of its management. In 1992, in developing national market economic relations, the introduction of the System of National Accounts (SNA) was started. Later this work was continued in order to expand the SNA and improve it in pursuance of the requirements of the European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA 95). Four general censuses were carried out: population and housing censuses in 2001 and 2011 and agricultural censuses in 2003 and 2010. In carrying out social and economic reforms, forming economic and social State policy, demographic and social statistics have been growing in importance. From 1997, the production of gender statistics was launched, which allowed assessing the position of women and men in the society and ensuring the monitoring of its changes. In 1994, sample surveys were brought into use, while in the last decade of the twentieth century their use was expanded rapidly. Moreover, the introduction of econometric and mathematical modelling methods was launched. From 1994, for the purpose of calculating a short-term consumer price index (CPI) forecast, CPI modelling has been carried out on a systematic basis. From 1998, through the use of econometric and balance models, GDP estimation has been started.
Up to 2004, for the purpose of successfully joining the European Statistical System, considerable attention was devoted to the assessment of all statistical areas and determining their conformity to the requirements of EU statistics-related legal acts.
The present and the outlook
In recent years, the main priorities of Statistics Lithuania have been as follows: the development of statistical areas, satisfaction of partner and user needs, expansion of the range of services offered and quality improvement, cultivation of statistical literacy of the society. A necessity emerged to statistically estimate certain phenomena, e.g. undeclared migration, black economy, tourist flows, activity of foreign enterprises in Lithuania and Lithuanian enterprises abroad, service producer prices and structure of such services, etc.
A quality management system, based on the satisfaction of statistical user needs and covering the organisation of statistical surveys and production and dissemination of statistical information, was introduced at Statistics Lithuania and certified in 2007. In 2010 and 2013, it was recertified as compliant with ISO 9001:2000 requirements.
A general information activity and resource planning and accounting system is in place at Statistics Lithuania; it is comprised of the following mutually integrated modules:
- financial accounting;
- project planning and management;
- customer relationship management;
- task and work sequence management;
- working time reporting;
- payroll accounting;
- personnel management.
Statistics Lithuania with its system for the reduction of the statistical response burden qualified for the final of the European Enterprise Awards for public initiatives in support of entrepreneurship in Europe 2008–2009. More than 350 EU national, regional, local self-government institutions were competing for the award.
At the beginning of 2013, Statistics Lithuania presented to the society the Official Statistics Portal (OSP) – a multifunctional State statistics information system enabling an essential improvement in the accessibility of official statistics, broadening opportunities for statistical analysis and presentation. Together with the new Portal, the website of Statistics Lithuania www.stat.gov.lt was essentially renewed.
In 2014, the OSP expansion project was finalised. The Database of Indicators was supplemented with historical – interwar and Soviet Lithuania – statistics; an e-library with scanned historical publications was created. An opportunity was afforded to access primary statistical data for scientific purposes via the Internet.
A great deal of attention was attracted by the geographic information system (GIS) applications: an interactive atlas – for spatial and temporal analysis of statistical indicators by administrative unit, and a detailed statistics application – for the analysis of statistical indicators at a more detailed territorial level: agricultural census data – by ward (seniūnija) and populated locality, population and housing census data – by grid, at an even more detailed level, irrespective of the boundaries of administrative units. At an annual Lithuanian Esri – international supplier of GIS software – user conference, which took place in October 2013, Statistics Lithuania received an award for achievements in the application of GIS to the dissemination of statistics.
Statistics Lithuania pays assiduous attention to the means for the reduction of the statistical response burden, expansion of the electronic statistical data collection system, uses an increasing number of administrative data for the production of statistics.
A burden monitoring system enables the estimation of the time spent by economic entities on the preparation of statistical data and filling in of statistical questionnaires. In 2013, an electronic statistical business data preparation and transfer system e-Statistics was introduced; the new system expanded the possibilities for submitting statistical data, improved the safety of this process.
Document updated: 2017-09-15