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Insights from assessing data quality and under-coverage in administrative sources

Research overview

In the future, administrative data sources are likely to have a key role as national statistical institutes (NSIs) such as NISRA adopt alternative data collection methods that are less costly and reduce respondent burden. Indeed, for the next census in 2021, the NSIs of the UK constituent countries have committed to using administrative data to support various elements of the operation such as informing the address register and improving the quality of the population estimates. It is therefore important to assess the accuracy of address information in administrative data sources such as the HCRS to ensure that the official statistics they inform are reliable.


Benefit

The research will provide a thorough quality assessment of address data accuracy in the HCRS, which will be of interest to NSIs in terms of the growing use of administrative data to inform official statistics. Furthermore, the findings will provide evidence on the extent of engagement by MEGs with primary health care services, which is of academic, policy and practitioner interest.


More about the research

In the future, administrative data sources are likely to have a key role as national statistical institutes (NSIs) such as NISRA adopt alternative data collection methods that are less costly and reduce respondent burden. Indeed, for the next census in 2021, the NSIs of the UK constituent countries have committed to using administrative data to support various elements of the operation such as informing the address register and improving the quality of the population estimates. It is therefore important to assess the accuracy of address information in administrative data sources such as the HCRS to ensure that the official statistics they inform are reliable.

The census of the United Kingdom (UK), taken every ten years, provides a wealth of information on the size and attributes of the population; among the detailed demographic data collected is a record of the address of usual residents at that time. This presents a rare and valuable opportunity to assess the accuracy of address data in key administrative sources, particularly where this information is drawn upon for specific operational or statistical purposes. In Northern Ireland (NI), address information from the health card registration system (HCRS) informs the estimation of internal migration, which is an important component of the sub-national population estimates produced annually by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Analysis of under-coverage in the HCRS, i.e. those not registered for a health card but resident in NI according to the census, can provide an insight on uptake of primary health care by minority ethnic groups (MEGs). It is important to investigate whether structural barriers (e.g. socio-economic deprivation, language difficulties) are associated with non-registration for a health card within the aforementioned groups. Using data from the March 2011 Census of NI and spring 2011 HCRS, the broad aims of the project are to (i) assess the accuracy of address information in the HCRS and (ii) investigate under-coverage in the HCRS to determine the level of registration among MEGs to access primary health care services in NI.


Government departments

NISRA, BSO, EONI


Date approved

February 2016


Project team

Ian Shuttleworth (Administrative Data Research Centre Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast)

Dermot O’Reilly (Administrative Data Research Centre Northern Ireland, Queen's University Belfast)

Brian Foley (Administrative Data Research Centre Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast)

Dave Martin (Administrative Data Research Centre England, University of Southampton)

Chris Gale (Administrative Data Research Centre England, University of Southampton)


Page last updated: 24/10/2017