Statistics Norway mainly conducts three different types of surveys:
- Register-based surveys
- Mandatory surveys and
- Voluntary (consent-based) surveys
Register-based surveys use data from public bodies
In registered-based surveys, Statistics Norway collects data from other public bodies, such as the Directorate of Taxes and NAV. Large data sets are transferred to Statistics Norway, and individuals do not have the opportunity to opt-out.
Statistics Norway has a great deal of communication with individual statistical units, i.e. enterprises and individuals, through questionnaires and interviews. The business sector in particular participates in such surveys, but individuals are also sometimes approached by Statistics Norway in this regard.
Some of our surveys are considered to have such a major public utility value that they are conducted as mandatory surveys, which means that participation is required by law. This mainly applies to businesses, with the exception of the Labour Force Survey and the Price Index for New Detached Houses. These two surveys are aimed at individuals and are mandatory. Where respondents are required by law to participate in a survey, they are expressly informed of this.
Voluntary (consent-based) surveys
Participation is of course voluntary in our voluntary surveys, but it is not possible to opt out from being requested to participate. We are pleased to report that our voluntary surveys have a very high participation rate.
Statistics Act imposes requirement on Statistics Norway to produce official statistics
The activity in Statistics Norway is based on the provisions of the Statistics Act, which impose a requirement on Statistics Norway to produce official statistics. In order to implement this, Statistics Norway has the authority to impose a requirement on individuals to take part in surveys, cf. Section 2-2. It can also impose fines on individuals who refuse to participate in a mandatory survey, cf. Section 2-3. Decisions on the duty to provide information in a specific survey will normally be an individual decision that can be appealed within three weeks in accordance with the provisions of the Public Administration Act. The Ministry of Finance deals with such appeals, and experience shows it is extremely difficult to obtain exemption from the duty to participate in a survey. There is no right of appeal against the general duty to participate in surveys; the appeal must relate to a specific decision in relation to a specific survey.
Strict conditions for processing personal data
Statistics Norway’s processing of personal data is subject to the provisions of the Personal Data Act. The conditions for processing personal data are strict, and Statistics Norway is very diligent in its efforts to protect data held on individuals.
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