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Research and Development Priorities for the Census Bureau State and Local Government Statistics Program: A Forthcoming Report John L. Czajka* David A.

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Presentation on theme: "Research and Development Priorities for the Census Bureau State and Local Government Statistics Program: A Forthcoming Report John L. Czajka* David A."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research and Development Priorities for the Census Bureau State and Local Government Statistics Program: A Forthcoming Report John L. Czajka* David A. Marker** *Mathematica Policy Research **Westat

2 Panel on Research and Development Priorities for the U.S. Census Bureaus State and Local Government Statistics Program Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Committee on National Statistics National Research Council Of the National Academies

3 Panel Members and NAS Staff Richard Nathan, Rockefeller Institute, Panel Chair Richard Nathan, Rockefeller Institute, Panel Chair John L. Czajka, Mathematica Policy Research John L. Czajka, Mathematica Policy Research John L. Knapp, University of Virginia John L. Knapp, University of Virginia Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston David A. Marker, Westat David A. Marker, Westat David Young Miller, University of Pittsburgh David Young Miller, University of Pittsburgh Robert Parker, Government Accountability Office (retired) Robert Parker, Government Accountability Office (retired) Robert Strauss, Carnegie Mellon University Robert Strauss, Carnegie Mellon University Thomas J. Plewes, NAS, Study Director Thomas J. Plewes, NAS, Study Director Caryn E. Kuebler, NAS, Panel Staff Caryn E. Kuebler, NAS, Panel Staff

4 Panel Milestones First meeting, January 2006 First meeting, January 2006 Subgroup meetings with Governments Division staff and users Subgroup meetings with Governments Division staff and users Second meeting and workshop, June 2006 Second meeting and workshop, June 2006 Third and final meeting, August 2006 Third and final meeting, August 2006 First draft, final report, November 2006 First draft, final report, November 2006 Second draft, final report, April 2007 Second draft, final report, April 2007 Final draft to be submitted to panel and reviewers, June 2007 Final draft to be submitted to panel and reviewers, June 2007 Response to reviewers and final Academy review and clearance, August 2007 Response to reviewers and final Academy review and clearance, August 2007

5 Measuring the Impact of Government What is a government? What is a government? –To classify and count governments, it is first necessary to define what a government is –Growth of special purpose governments account for most of the overall growth in the number of governments; these present the greatest challenge –Regional governments present the additional challenge of assigning a geographic location –Expertise of the Governments Division displayed in response to these challenges

6 Measuring the Impact of Government Census of Governments Census of Governments –Quinquennial, conducted in years ending in 2 or 7 –Directory Survey of Local Governments produces an updated list of all local governments, used to define the census frame and frame for many surveys done by others –Census of finances of state and local governments –Census of public employment covering federal civilian agencies as well as state and local governments

7 Measuring the Impact of Government Annual and quarterly surveys Annual and quarterly surveys –Five annual surveys and two quarterly surveys –Sample frame drawn from Directory Survey; samples redesigned after each census –Samples, once selected, are fixed until next redesign except for births and deaths –Surveys vary in size and complexity

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10 Issues Identified by the Census Bureau The need to develop a strategic view of the future The need to develop a strategic view of the future How to operate in an environment of constrained (declining) resources How to operate in an environment of constrained (declining) resources How to maintain the relevance of the program How to maintain the relevance of the program How to make sense of messy and fast-changing governmental structures How to make sense of messy and fast-changing governmental structures How to maintain a voluntary data collection program in the face of the virtual sovereignty of the reporting units How to maintain a voluntary data collection program in the face of the virtual sovereignty of the reporting units

11 Additional Issues Identified by the Panel Balancing the needs of national accounts against the needs of other users Balancing the needs of national accounts against the needs of other users Maintaining basic time series on government finances and employment Maintaining basic time series on government finances and employment Achieving more timely release of key data Achieving more timely release of key data Bringing methods into line with Census Bureau statistical standards and current statistical practice Bringing methods into line with Census Bureau statistical standards and current statistical practice Improving data dissemination Improving data dissemination

12 Balancing Data Needs Dual mission to provide: (1) aggregate data for state and local government component of national accounts and other key financial series and (2) individual government-level data to support micro- level analysis of operations and relationships Dual mission to provide: (1) aggregate data for state and local government component of national accounts and other key financial series and (2) individual government-level data to support micro- level analysis of operations and relationships Key users of (1) are BEA, FRB, and CMS, which use the data as inputs to the data series they develop Key users of (1) are BEA, FRB, and CMS, which use the data as inputs to the data series they develop Major users of (2) are public interest groups, research organizations, academic researchers, and state and local governments themselves Major users of (2) are public interest groups, research organizations, academic researchers, and state and local governments themselves Cutbacks since 1992 have affected (2) more than (1) Cutbacks since 1992 have affected (2) more than (1) How to weigh the needs of the full range of users has become a more difficult challenge with declining resources How to weigh the needs of the full range of users has become a more difficult challenge with declining resources

13 Maintaining Basic Time Series Tension between maintaining relevance and maintaining historical continuity of data series Tension between maintaining relevance and maintaining historical continuity of data series Need to reduce costs and respondent burden create additional impetus to reduce data elements Need to reduce costs and respondent burden create additional impetus to reduce data elements Different sets of users may view trade-offs differently; it is important to understand how breaks in data series will affect analytical uses Different sets of users may view trade-offs differently; it is important to understand how breaks in data series will affect analytical uses Long lead-time to implement changes to data collection provides opportunity to address impact Long lead-time to implement changes to data collection provides opportunity to address impact Census Bureau has good experience in bridging classification systemsmost recently, NAICS Census Bureau has good experience in bridging classification systemsmost recently, NAICS

14 More Timely Release of Key Data Lack of timeliness is principal concern of users Lack of timeliness is principal concern of users Timeliness of data varies by survey, with many factors contributing Timeliness of data varies by survey, with many factors contributing Annual Finance Survey has the greatest problem with timeliness; differing fiscal years are a factor Annual Finance Survey has the greatest problem with timeliness; differing fiscal years are a factor Availability of data rather than processing time accounts for the late release of AFS data Availability of data rather than processing time accounts for the late release of AFS data Nature of problem invites consideration of staggered release with partial or preliminary data Nature of problem invites consideration of staggered release with partial or preliminary data Research issues in how to achieve best quality Research issues in how to achieve best quality

15 Statistical Issues Documenting unit and item nonresponse Documenting unit and item nonresponse Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of panel samples Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of panel samples Making most effective use of cognitive methods in survey redesign Making most effective use of cognitive methods in survey redesign Converting nonprobability samples to probability basis Converting nonprobability samples to probability basis Prioritizing improvements in imputation procedures Prioritizing improvements in imputation procedures Enhancing central collection of local data Enhancing central collection of local data

16 Improving Data Dissemination Making data more accessible to diverse users Making data more accessible to diverse users Importance of metadata Importance of metadata Revisiting the use of press releases Revisiting the use of press releases Enhancing the functionality and user-friendliness of the website Enhancing the functionality and user-friendliness of the website Determining what value should be added to data products by Division staff Determining what value should be added to data products by Division staff

17 Watch for final report at:


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