Quick links


Common Metadata Framework

Metadata Case Studies


 All METIS pages (click arrow to expand)
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Name and version: Statistical unit

Alternative name: Unit of observation, object class, units (classified), object

Valid: From January 2009

Description: Statistical units are entities, respondents to a survey or things used for purpose of calculation or measurement. Statistical units are units of observation for which data are collected or derived. They include, among others, businesses, government institutions, individual organisations, institutions, persons, groups, geographical areas and events. They form the population from which data can be collected or upon which observations can be made.

Intended use:
The statistical unit is the basic unit of statistical observation within a statistical survey or program, and maybe the basis for sampling. Also, it is important to define the statistical unit being classified by the statistical classification, which defines the scope of the classification.  
Different statistical units meet different needs but are defined in such a way that it can be easily recognized and identified. It may be a legal or physical entity, or in the case of homogeneous production, a statistical construct.  
The following statistical units are units used for mainly business and national accounts' statistics: 
-         Enterprise group

-         Enterprise

-         Kind-of-activity unit (KAU)

-         Establishment

-         Local unit or location

-         Homogeneous units of production (UHP)

-         Institutional units

-         Economy

Other statistical units in business surveys include product and transaction. Statistical units for social statistics include person, family, household, birth, and death, etc.

Maintenance organization: To be determined

ISO Standard Number: Not applicable


UN Glossary of Classification Terms


Units in the Metadata Common Vocabulary

EU Regulation on Statistical Units (economic statistics)

Neuchâtel terminology
New Zealand

Statistics Canada

Relationships to other standards:  Concept Map

Linked to statistical classifications (1.1) since statistical units are the building blocks around which classifications are optimized. For example, the North American Industry Classification System is built for classifying units with a homogeneous production processes, which are generally business locations and/or establishments.

Linked to Neuchâtel Model (3.1) 

Linked to (1.3), (2.3)???

Language: English

Description last updated / validated: 21 December 2009


  • No labels