Go to Statistics Portal


Statistics Directorate    
Breaks in statistical time series occur when there is a change in the standards for defining and observing a variable over time. Such changes may the result of a single change or the combination of multiple changes at any one point in time of observation of the variable.

The specific causes of breaks in a statistical time series include changes in: classifications used, definitions of the variable, coverage, etc.

Statistical agencies and users of time series data for economic research to analyse and interpret economic and social events and conditions attach very high importance to the continuity and consistency of data over time. However, it should be emphasised that the occurrence of time series break may not necessarily jeopardise the reliability of a time series. Statistical agencies frequently apply a number of techniques to ensure the continuity of a time series.

Finally, the impact of a time series break is often a matter of judgement on the part of the user and depends on the use(s) to which the data are put.

Source Publication:
Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) - BIS, ECB, Eurostat, IBRD, IMF, OECD and UNSD - Metadata Common Vocabulary + stat.columbia.edu.

Cross References:
Observation, pre-break
Pre-break value
Revision policy
Time series


Statistical Theme: Methodological information (metadata)

Glossary Output Segments:

Created on Monday, February 2, 2004

Last updated on Friday, June 14, 2013