Statistics, Democracy and Development
Carlos M. Jarque
Systematized information on the physical environment and its inhabitants helps to identify the needs of people and to measure the potential of any society. This is particularly relevant in the current global context where we are witnessing immense changes in the architecture of the world. Countries of all latitudes and organizations of all types have entered into processes of transformation, leading to their modernization. In Mexico, a wide-ranging reform gave rise to new demands for statistical and geographical information. Measures were taken to prepare the national information system to face the traditional and the new challenges. A modernization program for INEGI, Mexico's central statistical, geographical and informatics office was designed and implemented. This program comprises seven areas: decentralization, infrastructure, methodology, training, coordination, new products, and actions to promote a broader statistical culture among the population. The contributions of INEGI's modernization program to the accomplishment of the national goals are briefly noted. A solid and updated information system promotes the extension of democratic participation and practices, helps in the design of policies aimed to promote economic development, and to improve people's living standards. It is concluded that, although statistical activities are technically and scientifically interesting, its fullest nobility may be found in helping nations provide justice and better well-being to their inhabitants.
Official statistics; world transformation; institutional modernization; National Information system; decentralization; infrastructure; methodology; training; new products, statistical culture; democracy; development; national goals.