Statistical literacy

Statistical literacy

‘In the data rich world… those nations, governments, businesses and individuals who use the power of numbers will prosper. Those who ‘get stats’ will get on. Those who do not, will get left behind.’ - John Pullinger, CB, past president of the RSS and National Statistician

Choosing what to buy, planning a journey, deciding on medical treatment, calculating earnings and benefits, and how to save and invest…these are all statistically rich decisions. Which is why we want to build statistical understanding across society, ensuring that we all get the most out of data.

Our getstats campaign, launched in 2010, sought to address this, and now one of the RSS’s key strategic goals is for society to be more statistically literate, so that people’s understanding of data, risk and probability can inform their daily decision making, leading to better outcomes.

We have initiated several programmes that help key professions, including the media and policymakers, improve their statistical literacy. We are seeking to improve discussion of statistics in the media and in public through our statistical ambassadors programme.

We encourage members to get involved with improving statistical literacy in schools, in the media and in public life.

An advisory board provides strategic advice on our statistical literacy work. We are grateful to funding and support provided by partners including the Nuffield Foundation, SAS, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and many others.