Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rebuilding the Government Statistics Infrastructure

The Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies issued a report in January 2006 on the first-ever review of the work of the Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau. Panel member Yolanda Kodrzycki of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston prepared a policy brief on the work of the panel and its findings.

As the full report ($55) reads: "Since the early days of the nation, the federal government has collected information on the revenues, expenditures, and other features of state and local jurisdictions and their operations. Today, these data are collected primarily by the Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau, which has conducted a census of governments every 5 years since 1957. The division also manages a program of related annual and quarterly surveys, as well as a comprehensive directory of state and local governments. All of this work is now taking place in an environment of constrained resources, and there have been cutbacks in the availability and dissemination of the data."

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