American Statistical Association

To monitor and report on the health of the federal statistical system

  • Amount $438,183
  • City Alexandria, United States
  • Investigator Steve Pierson
  • Initiative Empirical Economic Research Enablers (EERE)
  • Year 2022
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance

Government, business, and individuals all need free and quick access to high-quality data to make good decisions. The 13 principal agencies that comprise the federal statistical system in the United States work hard to provide such information—from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.   A 21st century statistical system should be able to process and provide data better than ever before. Recently, however, the U.S. statistical system has experienced chronic underfunding, weak interagency coordination, and other serious challenges to the integrity and privacy of their operations. So, we still do not have the kind of modern statistical system that other advanced countries take for granted. Nor is there consensus about how to prioritize or measure actions meant to improve the situation.The American Statistical Association (ASA) will therefore compile a report on the "State of the U.S. Data Infrastructure." The idea is to monitor and call attention to the health of federal statistical agencies. High political and financial stakes make it essential that any such evaluations be conducted in unbiased and authoritative ways. The project lead will be Steve Pierson, Director of Science Policy for the ASA since 2008. His advisory board will be co-chaired by Nancy Potok (former Chief Statistician of the U.S.) and Constance Citro (former head of the National Academy’s Committee on National Statistics).After collecting information through a wide variety of modes and sources, the advisory board will vet draft findings by holding a series of in-person workshops and meetings with agency leaders, survey experts, and other key stakeholders. Extensive dissemination of the final report will not only target statisticians, social scientists, and policymakers, but the public as well. The ASA eventually envisions launching a "Center for the Study of American Statistical Infrastructure" that would, among other activities, continue producing reports on a regular basis.

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