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Having Fun with China Statistical Database
——A Guide to Statistical Database

To speed up the construction of modern service-oriented statistics, and to better serve the community, on the basis of "China Statistical Database" created in 2008, the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) established a new statistical database in 2013. Here you can not only query the time series data of major indicators in various specific fields provided by NBS, you can also create personalized statistical charts according to individual needs; Not only can you browse numerous statistical yearbooks, you can also use the modern visualized statistical products.

We always strove to meet users' needs. We have made sustained efforts to provide more comprehensive, more diverse, more convenient statistical services. We hope that the new statistical database can satisfy your wants, and also look forward to your participation and feedback.

 I. Data You Can Access

National Statistical Database contains six types, nearly 8 million data which include monthly data, quarterly data, annual data, regional data, census data, and international data.

Monthly data provide indicators such as consumer price index (CPI), industrial production price index (PPI), retail price index, above-scale industrial production, investment in fixed assets, investment in real estate development, total retail sales of consumer goods, foreign trade, transportation, telecommunications, purchasing managers Index (PMI), finance, and banking.

Quarterly data include indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP), agriculture, industry, construction, income and expenditure of urban residents, income and expenditure of rural residents, fixed assets price index, and producer price index of agricultural products.

Annual data offer indicators covering 27 areas, such as GDP, population, employment and wages, etc.

Regional data are main economic indicators of 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) as well as some cities.

International data provide many countries' monthly and annual data of some major indicators such as GDP.

In addition, the database also offers links to the statistical sections in some China's government websites. You can check main statistical data of those departments.

 II. The Main Functions of New Database

(I) Browse Topics

Database provides a browse topics function implemented by the "theme - index classification - table" form. According to the needs, you can select the corresponding theme and target group. The table could be generated quickly. Meanwhile, you can select time to search the related time series.

(II) Data Maps

In order to facilitate a more intuitive understanding of data distribution characteristics of China's provinces, the database provides data maps feature. Select "Data Maps" under the "Regional Data", you can query main data and distribution of various regions.

(III)Visualization Experience

Data can talk with the aid of visualization technology. Under every statistical field you can open some default charts which attract wide concerns. In visualization section, you can experience more interactive statistical data which help you observe the change more directly.

(IV) Publications

Publications are important carriers to record statistical data. Under "Publications" section, you can find statistical materials published by NBS, such as China Statistical Yearbook since 1996, Statistical Communiqué, International Statistical Yearbook and the BRICS Countries Joint Statistical Manual.

(V) Little Housekeeper - Release schedule

In order to facilitate users to get the release dates and achieve the latest data on time, the "Release schedule" column is arranged on the home page, in the form of a calendar with the specific marked dates. The update will also be displayed so that you use the latest data quickly.

(VI) "SouShu" App

How can you put massive data into your pocket? Download mobile app "SouShu", then you can search huge amount of data provided by NBS via your mobile phone.

 III. Personalized Use

While sufficing users' general needs, in order to better satisfy the personalized wants, NBS database provides data management, table management, chart management, convenient management and other functions, you can manage the data and even share and build your own data files according to your requirements.

(I) Data Management – Query Data and Recalculation

Want to conduct a simple calculation on the data result? You can realize it without downloading data. Data Management provides simple calculation, filter and statistics on query page where you can perform all the operations. Using simple calculations, you can calculate the proportion of structural indicator data; using filter, through setting certain conditions on the indicators, you can pick out the qualified data results; "Statistics" provides some basic functions like sum, mean, max, min, median, mode, variance, and standard deviation.

(II) Management of Forms – Build "My" table

Management of Forms and Advanced Search features provide users with functions to select indicators based on individual needs, which can meet personalized wants. Management of Forms includes functions like edit, dimension conversion, and transpose. With the help of "edit" function, users can edit the data tables queried from the database and select the desired indices (or remove unwanted indices) to generate a new table. Using Advanced Search, users can filter statistical indicators among different statistical fields to tabulate or plot, so as to achieve a multi-disciplinary, cross-tabulation in any combination.

(III) Chart Management – To Visualize Data

New database provides four kinds of patterns, pie chart, column chart, scatter plot, and bar chart. Users can simply place the digitized query statements into visualized charts.

(IV) Convenient Management

In addition to the above features, you can also collect, download, copy and print query results. Through "Favorites" to collect query results, you can view them at any time, eliminating the tedious multiple queries. Download function provides Excel, WPS Spreadsheets, CSV, XML and PDF formats to ease your subsequent applications in data processing.

 IV. Explanation of Data in Statistical Database

(I) Data Coverage

National statistical indicators involved in the database don't contain data from Hong Kong Special Administrative Regions (SAR), Macao SAR and Taiwan Province except for administrative divisions, land area, forest resources and precipitation. Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR are a part of the overall national statistics. According to the relevant principles of the PRC Hong Kong Basic Law and Macao SAR Basic Law, Hong Kong, Macao and the mainland are relatively independent statistical regions. Based on their different statistical systems and legal requirements, they conduct statistical work independently.

(II) Data Sources

In the database, import and export data are collected from General Administration of Customs; foreign investment data from the Ministry of Commerce ; financial data from the Ministry of Finance ; resource and environmental data from the Ministry of Land Resources, Ministry of Environmental Protection , Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture , Ministry of Water Resources, State Forestry Administration, National Weather Service, State Oceanic Administration and other departments; transportation data from the Ministry of Transport , Railway Corporation, China Civil Aviation Administration and other departments ; telecommunications data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, National Post; travel data from the National Tourism Administration; financial data from the People's Bank , the SAFE , CBRC , CSRC and CIRC; education data from the Ministry of Education; science and technology data from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the State Intellectual Property Office, AQSIQ, Earthquakes Administration, National Administrative of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation and other departments; health and social services data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs and NHFPC; cultural data from the Ministry of Culture , the State Press and Publication Administration of Radio; sports Data from the State Sports General Administration; social security data derived from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security; GDP, agriculture, population, employment, wages , industry, energy, investment in fixed assets, real estate development and investment, construction, wholesale and retail, accommodation and catering, price index, urban and rural residents' income and expenditure and other data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

If you need to check more detailed statistical data of various departments, you can directly click data links of those departments.

 V. Statistical Standards and Statistical Systems

(I) National Statistical Standards

When using the database, you can view statistical data classified by industries and registration types. Those are statistical standards. Statistical data have to follow some standards and rules to conduct surveys so as to ensure the scientific reliability and preciseness of data.

What are statistical standards?

For the details, please refer to NBS website:

Understand Changes in Statistical Standards before Using Data

Statistical standards keep up with the times to better fulfill the current needs of economic and social development. Therefore, when you use the data, you need to first understand the changes in statistical standards, so as to conduct comparative research wisely. For example, since 2012, NBS implemented the new Classification Standards of National Economic Industries (GB / T 4754-2011), in which the original 39 industrial sectors were adjusted to 41 sectors.

(II) Statistical System

Every statistical field had established special statistical system. Clear regulations on survey purpose, scope (overall), method, content and format, reporting period, data submission method are the basis for statistical survey.

What are statistical systems?

For the details, please refer to NBS website :

Change in Statistical System

With economic and social development the statistical system is constantly revised and improved. Therefore, when using the data, you need to pay attention to changes in the statistical system as well as change in indicators, so that you can make correct comparison on data in the different periods.

Industrial Statistical System:

Investment in Fixed Assets Statistical System:

Construction Statistical System:

Industrial Producer Price Statistical System:

Since 2011, the producer price index was changed to Producer Price Indices for Industrial Products. Raw materials, fuel and power purchase price index was changed into Purchasing Price Indices for Industrial Producers.

Total retail sales of consumer goods statistical system:

Purchasing managers' index (PMI) statistical system:

Since 2005, PMI statistical survey had been established and implemented formally. Thus the data you query are PMI and subcategory indices since 2005.

(III) The Meaning of Indices

To understand the meaning of statistical indicators is the premise of using statistical data accurately. Every statistical indicator has its own unique meaning, scope and effect. To help you understand the information more easily, please click Query Indicator. A window will be popped up to explain the meaning of the indicator. If you want to know other indices' explanations, you can also open "Index Explanation" section in NBS website.

(IV) Data Revision

Monthly Data and Annual Data. According to the data production process, as well as different data sources and data completeness, the index data provided by NBS survey were categorized into express data and annual data. Express data were to meet requirement of timeliness, to get data as soon as possible to satisfy the economic and social development needs. Therefore they are preliminary data, mainly progress data like monthly data and quarterly data. Annual data are the annual statistics on the basis of data available in a more comprehensive grasp, so that they are released late. Therefore, you will find different data for the same indicator (mainly annual data) in different statistical materials, or in the same material published in different years. The reason is that data will be revised due to more detailed data sources. This is the common international practice.

GDP Revision. What we are most familiar with is the revision of gross domestic product (GDP). Because GDP accounting requires that all the basic information must be available, timely and complete, there are "three steps" to follow when computing GDP, i.e. there are three numbers provided, preliminary accounting number, preliminary verification number and final verification number. Annual preliminary accounting number is calculated on the basis of progress statistical data in 12 months, usually released in news conference on the national economic performance held in January of the following year, and used in "The People's Republic of China National Economic and Social development Statistics Communique" and "China Statistical Abstract" published in February and May issues in the following year. Preliminary verification number is calculated based on professional statistical yearbook materials, and used in the "China Statistical Yearbook" in September of the following year. Final verification number is calculated on the basis of professional statistical yearbook, departmental accounting and financial statement data, and used in "China Statistical Abstract" and "China Statistical Yearbook" published in May and September of the year after next.

Revision of economic census data. Following international practice, after carrying out the national economic census and other major investigations, historic data will be revised based on more detailed basic data.

 VI. How to Use Statistical Data

(I) Understand statistical terms

While browsing database, we can find some terms such as current value, accumulated value, last month=100, and the same month of last year=100. What's the meaning? Let's illustrate them one by one.

Current value and accumulated value: Current value refers to the value of statistical indicator during the reporting period. Accumulated value is the accumulated value of statistical indicator from this January to the reporting period. For example, total retail sales of consumer goods reached 1.8827 trillion in June and 11.0764 trillion from January to June. 1.8827 trillion is the current value of total retail sales of consumption goods in June and 11.0764 trillion is the cumulative value from January to June.

"Last month=100", "the same month in last year=100", "the same period in last year=100": in price indices, we meet such expressions a lot. "Last month=100" refers to the data comparison between from current month and from last month, which is so-called "month-on-month comparison"; "the same month in last year=100" is the data comparison between from this month and from the same month in last year, which is so-called "year-on-year comparison"; "the same period in last year=100" refers to the comparison between the cumulative data from this January to the reporting month and the one from the same interval in last year. For example, that CPI for June 2013 increased by 2.7% compared with last June meant that we treated CPI for June in 2012 as 100; that the month-on-month growth rate in June is 0% meant that we treated value from last month as 100; 2.4% average growth rate from January to July meant that we treated value from the same interval in last year as 100.

Index and growth rate: we can also find various concepts of GDP index. There are two kinds of GDP indices. One is derived by comparing current GDP at price level of 1978 to GDP of 1978. Another is derived by comparing current GDP at price level of last year to last year's GDP. For example, using 1980 as the base year, GDP index was 2250.4% in 2011; using 2010 as base year, GDP index was 109.3% in 2011. The commonly-used growth rate is equal to subtract one from index. Another example is that GDP rose 9.3% year-on-year in 2011. Likewise, using CPI minus one, we can get the limits of CPI.

(II) How to calculate the indicators

Typically, when users get some data, they would perform some relevant calculations based on their needs, such as growth rate of the indicator over the previous year, or the average growth rate at a certain interval. So, what's the right way to perform the calculations?

Calculation on GDP growth rate. GDP growth rate cannot be computed simply by dividing the total values in two years, but to be calculated at constant prices. Mainly because the indices at current price contain the factors of price changes and volume changes in different years, it is necessary to eliminate those factors of change in price so that indices can truly reflect economic developments.

The algorithm of actual growth rate. In the NBS press release, we often see the arguments like "after deducting price factors, the actual growth rate is **%", then how to calculate the actual growth rate of the different indicators and what kind of price factors need to be deducted?

For the actual growth rate of urban residents' income, what is deducted is the urban consumer price index in the same period. For example, in the first half of 2013 per capita disposable income of urban residents rose 9.1% year-on-year nominally; after deducting price factors, the actual growth rate is 6.5 percent. The algorithm is: actual growth rate of per capita disposable income of urban residents (6.5%) = nominal development rate of disposable income of urban residents (100 +9.1) / consumer price index of urban household in the same period (100 +2.4) * 100-100. Similarly, the actual growth rate of rural residents' income = nominal development rate of rural residents' income / Consumer Price Index of rural household in the same period * 100-100.

The actual growth rate of investment in fixed assets = nominal development rate of investment in fixed assets / price index of investment in fixed assets in the same period* 100-100

The actual growth rate of total retail sales of consumer goods = nominal development rate of total retail sales of consumer goods / retail price index in the same period * 100-100.

The algorithm of average growth rate.In order to reflect the economic development in a given period, we usually use the average growth rate. For example, from 2003 to 2011, China's annual employment rate increased by 0.5% on average. What's worth to point out is that the average growth rate ≠. The correct algorithm is that the average growth rate = , where n refers to the ending year, m refers to the starting year, Y refers to numbers in the corresponding year. In the above example, m=2003, n=2011, , so the average annual growth rate of employment from 2003 to 2011 =

How to compute the per capita indicators.When computing per capita indicators, there are two things we need to pay attention to. First, the type of population groups used in the denominator should correspond to the indicators used in nominator; Secondly, population contains two kinds of data, population at the year-end and average population. The periods used in denominator should match the periods used in nominator.

Taking GDP per capita as an example, because GDP is progress data, denominator should be total average population. In 2012, GDP was 51932.2 billion yuan. Total population was 1.35404 billion at the year-end of 2012 and 1.34735 billion at year-end of 2011. Then the average population of 2012 = (1.35404+1.34735)/2=1.35070 billion. GDP per capita in 2012 = 51932.2/1.35070= 38449 yuan/person.

(III) Use statistical indicator wisely

Chinese economic indicators are very numerous. There are more than twenty thousand statistical indicators published in "China Statistical Yearbook". It is very complicated on how to use information provided by different indicators to analyze the economic situation accurately.

Grasp the overall situation and the principal contradiction

The national economy is a complex organic whole, involving all aspects. Each indicator has its own specific meaning, which reflects a particular aspect of the economy and has its specific purpose. Therefore, to fully grasp the economic situation, one cannot judge the economy with one or two indicators. One should conduct a more comprehensive analysis on the main indicators of the national economy, examine the economic operation from the side as much as possible, and make the overall judgment from interconnected and integrated perspectives. For example, economic growth rate, inflation, unemployment, and balance of payments are four indicators that one should concern when observing and analyzing international economic situations. Meanwhile, one should also pay attention to changes in inventories, purchasing managers' index and other micro indicators, as well as some indicators in monetary, fiscal, and financial markets. Using various types of major economic indicators flexibly, one can figure out the general characteristics of economic performance.

A combination of macro analysis and structural analysis

To judge the economic and social phenomena, you first need to consider the aggregate indicators, analyze the changes in overall size and the general level. However, it is not enough to only analyze the aggregate indicators. That there is no problem in aggregates doesn't mean that there is no question in structure. Or even if there are problems in aggregate indicators it doesn't mean that there is a problem in structure. Therefore, when performing the macro analysis, one should also perform a structural analysis. Structural analysis is usually conducted from the following aspects: Firstly, one should analyze whether changes in a variety of social needs coordinate with each other. The focus is to analyze whether changes in investment are in harmony with changes in consumption, and further investigate whether investment structure, consumption structure and the import and export structure are reasonable. Secondly, one should analyze whether social productions coordinate with each other. One should focus on whether the development of industry coordinates with the tertiary industry, whether industrial and agricultural development are coordinated, and further observe whether development of heavy industry and light industry are in harmony with the development of industry segments. Thirdly, one should examine whether regional developments are balanced. Similar analysis of the structural factors can be carried out on prices, import and export and other indicators.

A combination of longitudinal comparison and crosswise comparison

The absolute value of an economic indicator only reflects the current size, and growth rate only reflects the current growth situation. It is difficult to say that an indicator is large or small, fast or slow when observing it in isolation. Only through crosswise and longitudinal contrasts to determine a position in a coordinate system for an economic indicator, one can make the right judgment. Longitudinal comparison is to compare economic indicators at different times or periods. The main purpose is to observe trajectory of changes in economic indicators. Crosswise comparison is to compare a certain economic indicator with other indicators, and compare the domestic indicators with related international indicators.

A combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis

Economic analysis is the combination of quality and quantity. When analyzing the economic situation one must deal with the relationship between qualitative analysis and quantitative analysis. Qualitative analysis is a summary and refinement of the relevant quantitative relationship. An isolated indicator can only depict size, number and height of the economy from one side, but not reveal the qualitative requirements. Economic and social relationships are complicated. Without qualitative judgments, large amounts of data can only make people lose themselves while observing economic situations.

 VII. Timely answers to your questions

National Bureau of Statistics has just officially launched the new version of database. As an important system revision, limited by time and manpower, there are imperfections and maybe even flaws. We sincerely welcome your valuable suggestions. Please submit your feedback to us, we will deal with the problems promptly, and continue to make efforts to improve our database. We also sincerely welcome you to contact us with any related issues when using the database, we will answer them timely. Please feel free to call us at 010-68520066, 68576320 for any suggestions or comments.