Planning and evaluation of government programs usually require access to a wide range of national and sub-national socio-economic, environment and health related statistics. There is, however, a growing need for statistics relating to much smaller geographical areas, where data are too sparse to support the sort of standard estimation methods typically employed at national level. These ‘small area’ official statistics are routinely used for a variety of purposes, including assessing economic well-being of a nation, making public policies, and allocating funds in various government programs. In this context, the term small area typically refers to a subpopulation for which reliable statistics of interest cannot be produced using the limited area specific data available from the primary data source. With the rapid development of survey methodology, different governmental agencies are now exploring ways of combining national survey data with administrative and census records to produce reliable small area statistics. The field of small area estimation (SAE) research is quickly expanding to meet this demand, and is constantly tackling practical problems that are both theoretically and computationally challenging. Furthermore, in recent years, new and challenging problems in SAE have emerged that are associated with Big Data, confidentiality protection, record linkage or interaction between SAE and other fields, where ideas of SAE are applicable, but not without further methodology and computational development.
The main purpose of the meeting is to assess the current state of development and usage of small area methodology, and to discuss problems and solutions to the challenging problems mentioned above. We hope that this meeting will serve as a bridge between statisticians and practitioners working on SAE in academia, private and government agencies as well as in other fields. Although there have been conferences on SAE topics in recent years, the new and emerging challenges in SAE and from other fields that could benefit from the ideas and methods developed in SAE fully justify another SAE conference, taking advantage of the 61st ISI World Statistics Congress. Holding the meeting in Paris will give researchers from France and Europe as well as other parts of the world an opportunity to learn about state-of- the-art SAE techniques from the experts in the field, and potential usefulness and opportunities of using these techniques in solving their own practical problems.