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The Future of Producing Social and Economic Statistical Information, Part II
Posted By briana On September 20, 2011 @ 1:54 pm In About the Agency | No Comments
Written by: Director Robert Groves
In my last post, I reviewed five observations. Because of changes in American society, 1) the Census Bureau’s methods of data collection are costing more money to produce the same statistical information, but 2) the demands are increasing for more statistical information from businesses, governments, and the public, and 3) there are new data collection technologies that are being invented constantly, 4) there are new sources of digital data from Federal program agencies, the internet, and economic transactions, but 5) in the medium run the Census Bureau is not likely to have more fiscal resources to take advantage of these. My conclusion: the current methods used in the Census Bureau are unsustainable in the medium run.
These observations suggest a way forward for this agency. In some areas, we have unique resources to achieve success; for others, we will need to work together in new ways.
These new designs thus will build on practices that are appearing within the Bureau already.
This future will require some changes in our key work processes. All the changes share the common theme of developing new design, data collection, and analysis methods to improve participation rates and efficiencies of surveys and censuses.
All of these appear to be within our reach, given pockets of developments that have occurred in different Bureau programs recently. We need to consolidate these practices for the benefit of all the programs as they move to mixed-mode designs. One area needing direct and quick attention is the collection and analysis of cost data so that wise tradeoff decisions about mode switches can be made. Another development area is management information systems permitting the real-time administration of mixed-mode surveys.
I have some ideas on steps that we might mount to address these issues. I’ll talk about them in a later post.
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