18 May 2024

Last update 4 / 04 / 2023

Statistical Sector

Statistics and information sector in Saudi Arabia Statistical work.. the journey

Saudi  statistical data and information sector is one of the producing sectors that organize the production of statistical data, information, studies, research, and all related services. Statistics and information sector consists of the general authority for statistics, besides many public and private statistical units, centers, and institutions.

Saudi statistical work has started earlier in the Saudi developmental history. It has started since 1349 H- 1930 AD and lasted for 30 years. On 1st of June, 1960 AD, the statistical work was given a privilege by issuing a general statistics system (by royal decree number 23). This was the corner stone for the official statistical system which collaborated in organizing the statistical sector by consolidating the relations between the central department of statistics ,as a central statistical agency, and other sectors. The reason why this system was created is to activate the statistical work, make it more comprehensive and effective, and raise statistical awareness.

Many government sectors and ministries have founded statistical departments for the purpose of collecting each ministry's data and information and provide the central department of statistics with them periodically, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and yearly.

On 18/03/1416 H – 14/08/1995 AD the central department  of statistics changed its dependency. By cabinet resolution number (55), it started to be part of the Ministry of Economy and Planning instead of the Ministry of Finance.

Starting from 24/11/1426 H – 24/12/2005 AD until 13/01/1437 H- 26/10/2015 AD, many resolutions and regulations have been made. The most important of which are:

  1. Cabinet resolution number (284) in 24/11/1426 H – 26/12/2005 AD the department becomes responsible for Saudi statistics and information, so its name becomes Central Department of Statistics and Information.
  2. Cabinet resolution number (235) in 16/07/1428 H –  30/07/2007 AD the department is organizationally related to the Minister of Economy and Planning.
  3. Royal decree number (12486/B) in 25/03/1430 H – 22/03/2009 AD
    • All government entities should provide the Central Department of statistics with statistical data and information on time and with a proper format.
    • All statistical departments and information centers should be electronically linked with the Central Department to facilitate statistical data and information flow.
  4. Royal decree number (64283) in 26/12/1436 H – 09/10/2015 AD: Central Department of Statistics and Information has been transformed into a general authority named General Authority for Statistics that is financially and administratively independent.
  5. Cabinet resolution number (11) in 13/01/1437 H – 26/10/2015 AD: approving the General Authority for Statistics structure . it included many articles, the most important of which are:
    • The General Authority for Statistics technically and structurally supervises the statistics sector. It is also responsible for creating a thorough system of national statistical databases in many fields.
    • The authority has an independent board of direction headed by the minister of Economy and Planning and 15 members representing 14 government, in addition to Saudi commercial and industrial chambers and two specialists in statistics.
    • Creating a coordinating committee from many government entities headed by the authority president. It aims at activating the effective collaboration in coordinating the government entities' works with the authority in the field of statistics and information.

In more than fifteen years, the statistical work passed through several stages:





(before 1390 H) ( 1970 AD )

  • In 1383 H -1963 AD: all population, buildings, and institutions were counted . estimations and statistical indicators were made, the most important of which is Gross Domestic Product of 138601387 H.
  • In 1389: private institutions were counted)


(1390-1399 H) ( 1970- 1979 AD)

  • Implementing  population and housing census 1394 H – 1974 AD
  • Implementing institutions census 1396H – 1976 AD
  • Implementing many statistical researches by sample
  • Implementing two researches for consumption expenditure:
    1. Wage research on a small sample in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam in 1390/1391 H -1970/1971 AD
    2. Wage research on a small sample in five cities: Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Abha, Buraidah in 1396/1397 H – 1976/1977 AD
  • Starting from 1390 H – 1970 AD:Releasing an annual bulletin about the cost of living index


(1400-1409H) (1980-1989 AD)

  • Elaborating surveys and researches
  • In 1400H- 1980AD: implementing the consumption expenditure research. It covered ten cities: Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah. Dammam, Taif, Abha, Tabuk, Hofuf, Buraidah.
  • Continue implementing many social and economic researches.
  • Implementing the economic census in 1401 H – 1981AD
  • In 1402 H – 1982 AD: implementing the agricultural census by the ministry of agriculture and water by coordination with the central department.
  • Developing the way of preparing and issuing the cost of living indexes, as the issuance became monthly.
  • In 1404H – 1984 AD: the department started to release the wholesale prices indexes bulletin. It also started to develop the foreign trade statistics bulletins, in addition to the national accounts bulletin.    


(1410- 1420 H) ( 1990-1999 AD)

  • In 1413 H- 1992AD: implementing the population and housing census
  • In 1413 H – 1992 AD: the department started to apply the national accounts system based on an executive plan.
  • In 1414H–1993AD : implementing the establishments census and starting to use the coordinated system for classifying foreign trade statistics data.
  • Making  a promising plan for statistical researches (1419-1425 H) 1998- 2004 AD based on a schedule that took into account the priorities and beneficiaries need of data.  



(1421- 1435 H) (2000 – 2014 AD)

  • In 1425 H 2004 AD: implementing the population and housing census.
  • Unifying the census times, to be conducted every ten years starting from a year with zero, so the first census was conducted in 2010 Ad/ 1431 H.
  • In 1425 H- 1431 H/ 2004 AD/ 2010 AD two establishments censuses were implemented.
  • Starting to apply the national accounts system 2008 AD.
  • Developing prices and index numbers programs.
  • Starting to design a central information system that is automatically linked with the government entities.


















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