| Federal Statistics in the
FY 2004 Budget
Edward J. Spar,
Statistics produced by the federal government serve as a base for research in a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. Population and vital statistics are central to the work of political scientists and demographers; employment, financial, and production data are essential for economists; and information on education and crime is used by sociologists and psychologists. Responsibility for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of federal statistics is spread throughout the departments and independent agencies of the executive branch; each of some 70 agencies and departmental units annually spends $500,000 or more on statistical activities. Within this decentralized system that generates statistical information, a more limited number of agencies have the creation of statistics as their principal mission. It is these agencies that are responsible for producing statistics on major economic, demographic, and social developments and trends that are the focus of discussion in this chapter. In general, the funding levels for FY 2004 that have been proposed for the principal statistical agencies provide increases over the resources appropriated in FY 2003. The one major exception is for the National Center for Health Statistics, which show a decrease. For details of the funding history in fiscal years 2002 through 2004, please see Table 1. The balance of this chapter provides further details on FY 2004 programs.
BUREAU OF THE CENSUS
The Bureau of the Census in the Department of Commerce collects, compiles,
and publishes a broad range of statistics on the population and the economy.
Budget authority for the Census Bureau is provided in two appropriations:
one covers current programs, including demographic surveys, international
programs and data on construction, manufacturing, retail and wholesale
trade, services, foreign trade, and state and local government finances
and employment; the other covers periodic programs, including the decennial
census of population, the quinquennial economic censuses and the census
Table 1. Principal
Federal Statistical Agencies
Notes: 1/ Funding
levels include $23.3 million in FY 2002, $125.9 million in FY 2003 and
$52.0 mil. for FY 2004 from Public Health Service Evaluation Funds.
For FY 2004, funding is requested for the Census Bureau's economic and demographic programs and for a re-engineered 2010 Census. For the Census Bureau's economic and demographic programs, funding is requested to: (1) support the completion of the data processing activities and product preparations associated with disseminating results of the 2002 Economic Census and the Census of Governments; (2) improve measurement of services by expanding key source data for critical quarterly and annual estimates of our nation's Gross Domestic Product; (3) offer electronic reporting for almost 100 current economic surveys; (4) provide computing capacity required for mission critical data products in the event of a disaster; and (5) implement the first new samples based on 2000 Census data for ongoing federal household surveys that gather data on topics such as crime, employment, and health. For 2010 Census planning, funding is requested to continue to: (1) conduct extensive planning, testing, and development activities to support a re-engineered 2010 Census; (2) correct the accuracy of map feature locations in 600 of the nation's 3,232 counties; and (3) implement the American Community Survey to collect current ''long form'' data instead of using a long form in the 2010 Census.
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS (BLS)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the principal fact finding agency in the federal government in the field of labor economics, has a dual mission: to provide general purpose statistics that support the formulation of economic and social policy decisions in the business and labor communities, in legislation, and other programs affecting labor; and to serve the program needs of the Department of Labor and other federal agencies that use the BLS data and research findings to administer and evaluate on going programs, develop legislative proposals, and analyze economic and social problems. To meet these objectives, BLS collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates data on employment and unemployment, projections of economic growth, the labor force, and employment by industry and occupation, prices and cost of living, consumer expenditures, wages and employee benefits, occupational injuries and illnesses, collective bargaining activities, and productivity and technological change in U.S. industries.
For FY 2004, work will continue to extend Producer Price Index (PPI) coverage for the first time to the construction sector of the U.S. economy and to enhance service sector coverage; to develop new industry labor and multi-factor productivity series for the service-producing sector; and to improve the statistical quality of Local Area Unemployment Statistics. BLS will continue its activities to modernize the computing systems for monthly processing of the PPI and U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes, and to improve both programs' indexes. The Budget request includes a program increase to fund two Current Population Survey (CPS) supplements on key labor force issues. Work will continue on two new surveys: the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey and the American Time Use Survey. BLS will also continue work to fundamentally change the way the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is revised and updated.
BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS (BEA)
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), also part of the Department of Commerce, provides a picture of the United States economy through the preparation, development and interpretation of the economic accounts. These accounts consist of the national income and product accounts, summarized by the gross domestic product (GDP); the wealth accounts that show the business and other components of national wealth; the input output accounts that trace interrelationships among industrial markets; State and regional income and product accounts; and the United States balance of payments and associated international investment accounts. These economic accounts provide key information on economic growth, regional development, and the Nation's position in the world economy. These data are vital ingredients in major decisions affecting such areas as monetary and fiscal policy, social security projections, and business planning and investment.
For FY 2004 funding is requested to move forward with critical improvements to the nation's economic accounts to: (1) accelerate the release of some of the nation's most important economic statistics to dramatically increase their usefulness to policy makers, business leaders, and other users; (2) update the U.S. Balance of Payments to recognize derivatives and other new financial instruments, and to meet U.S. statistical obligations to international organizations; (3) improve the economic accounts by acquiring monthly real-time data from private sources to fill data gaps in current measures; and (4) conduct a quarterly survey of large and volatile international services such as telecommunications, finance, and insurance.
STATISTICS OF INCOME, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (SOI)
The proposed FY 2004 funding for SOI provides for compilation of annual
income, financial, and tax data from samples of tax returns filed by individuals,
corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships and tax exempt organizations.
SOI also provides periodic data based on other returns, such as those
filed by estates, for estimating wealth of the living top wealth holders,
as well as on various other tax and information returns and schedules,
for producing such estimates as U.S. investments abroad, foreign investments
in the United States, and gains or losses from sales of capital assets.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE (NASS)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its first crop report in 1863, and further strengthened this responsibility in 1905 by creating the Crop Reporting Board (now the Agricultural Statistics Board). NASS has the responsibility for collecting and publishing current national, state and county agricultural statistics. NASS collects and reports data on a wide range of production, inventories, prices paid and received by farmers, costs of production, farm labor usage and wage rates, agricultural chemical use, and other agricultural statistics. Beginning in FY 1997, NASS is responsible for the census of agriculture program, which provides comprehensive data every 5 years on all aspects of the agricultural economy down to the county level.
The FY 2004 budget includes decreases for cyclical activities associated with the census of agriculture program and Department wide savings associated with consolidated buys for infrastructure and office automation. Increases include the first phase of restoration and modernization of the core agriculture estimates program; partial data acquisition costs associated with ensuring statistically defensible survey precision for small area estimates; further advancements in infrastructure and electronic data reporting under NASS's e-Government plan; and pay costs. The reduction for the Census of Agriculture reflects the decrease in activity levels realized in FY 2004 due to the cyclical nature of the 5 year census of agriculture program. The available funding allows for final analysis, summary, and dissemination of the 2002 Census of Agriculture, scheduled for release in February 2004. The funding also supports two follow on activities of the census, the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey and the Census of Horticultural Specialties.
ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICE (ERS)
The Economic Research Service (ERS), also in USDA, is a research oriented statistical agency that provides economic and other social science information and analysis related to the supply, demand and performance of domestic and international food and agricultural markets; indicators of food and consumer issues; economic and environmental indicators of agriculture production and resource use; and socio economic indicators of the status and performance of the farm sector and the rural economy.
For FY 2004 funding is requested to: (1) strengthen the economic information and analytical bases for genomics research, application, and education program decisions; and (2) develop the Security Analysis System for U.S. agriculture.
ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION (EIA)
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) collects, analyzes, and disseminates information on energy resources, production, distribution, consumption, technology, and related international, economic, and financial matters. EIA produces reports with statistical time series, projections of future energy trends, analyses of topical energy issues, and supports the energy information requirements of the Department of Energy (DOE) and other federal agencies. The primary customers of EIA services are public policy makers in DOE and the Congress. Other customers include other federal agencies, state and local governments, the energy industry, educational institutions, the news media, and the public.
For FY 2004 funding is requested to: (1) improve the data quality of natural gas and electricity surveys, (2) redesign petroleum surveys to reflect new fuel standards, (3) complete the update of the 20-year old survey designs for residential and commercial building energy consumption based on the 2000 Census, (4) integrate the operation of the Weekly Natural Gas Underground Storage Survey as an ongoing EIA activity, and (5) continue development and operation of the Voluntary Greenhouse Gases survey to support the President's Initiative on Greenhouse Gases.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS (NCHS)
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) monitors the Nation's health and use of health services and explores the relationship between risk factors and disease. Data sources include the Nation's vital statistics system and surveys involving personal interviews, physical examinations and laboratory testing, and information from health care providers. The mission of NCHS is to provide statistical information that will guide actions and policies to improve the health of the American people. Data from NCHS include the use of hospitals, nursing homes, physician services, financial and non financial barriers to health care access; the health of racial and ethnic population groups; infant mortality, access to prenatal care; death from diseases such as cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS; health insurance coverage, immunization status, and other measures used to help design and monitor the impact of programs and policies that affect health and the health care system.
For FY 2004 funding is requested to: (1) maintain and rebuild several core data collections, including the National Health Interview Survey, which is undertaking a multi-year effort to identify the sample for household surveys for the next decade and to overhaul the basic systems through which data are collected, processed, and made available to users; (2) support the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, through which health information is obtained by direct physical examinations and laboratory test; and (3) development of a fully electronic, web-based vital statistics systems that would involve initial recording of birth and death certificates via electronic systems in hospitals and funeral homes, with secure, encrypted Internet transmission to state authorities and NCHS for translation into aggregate statistics.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS (NCES)
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the Department of Education (ED) collects, analyzes and reports statistics on education in the United States, and conducts studies on comparisons of international education statistics. NCES also provides leadership in developing and promoting the use of standardized terminology and definitions for the collection of education statistics.
In FY 2004 funding is requested to: (1) support new data collection for the Schools and Staffing Survey, the principal source of information on the characteristics of America's schools and the teachers and principals who work in them; (2) expand survey designs for the Study of Students and Faculty, the National Household Survey, and the October supplement to the Current Population Survey; (3) continue U.S. participation in data collections and analyses that depict international educational performance and permit comparison of United States' educational progress with those of other countries; (4) continue support for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Program and its role in the No Child Left Behind Act; and (5) improve electronic data collection and dissemination efforts.
BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS (BJS)
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the Department of Justice is responsible for the collection, analysis, and publication of statistical information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operations of justice systems at all levels of government and internationally. The mission of the Bureau is to provide accurate and timely justice data and to support the emerging capacity of State and local governments in the use of these data for their justice programs.
For FY 2004, funding is requested to enhance and maintain core statistical programs, including: (1) the National Crime Victimization Survey, the nation's primary source of information on criminal victimization, which plans to automate household data collection; (2) cybercrime statistics on the incidence, magnitude, and consequences of electronic and computer crime; (3) law enforcement data from over 3,000 agencies on the organization and administration of police and sheriffs' departments; (4) nationally representative prosecution data on resources, policies, and practices of local prosecutors; (5) court and sentencing statistics, including federal and state case processing data; and (6) data on correctional populations and facilities from federal, state, and local governments.
BUREAU OF TRANSPORTATION STATISTICS (BTS)
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) legislative mandate covers four key areas: 1) compiling, analyzing, and publishing a comprehensive set of transportation statistics; 2) making statistics readily accessible; 3) implementing a long term data collection program; and 4) improving transportation data and advancing its effective use in public and private decision making. BTS was mandated by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1992 and implemented in December 1992 as an operating administration within the Department of Transportation (DOT). In 1998, BTS was re-authorized in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21).
The BTS FY 2004 budget reflects a reauthorization proposal that sharpens the agency's focus. Activities will revolve around five core data programs and two cross-cutting research programs. The data programs will develop useful, timely, and reliable freight, travel, economics, airline, and geospatial data. The research programs will develop and publish key indicators of national transportation system performance and improve statistical methods to address transportation-specific problems. Planned outputs for 2004 include: Freight and travel flow - replace infrequent, incomplete freight and passenger flow surveys with continuous data collection programs that fill critical gaps. Measurement - develop reliable indicators of transportation system performance. Economic analysis - explain how transportation activity, investment and disruption impacts the larger economy. Geospatial data - map transportation and related data for planning, policy, and homeland and national security. Airlines statistics - deliver timely data and analysis on airline activity, performance, and financial condition.
NSF SCIENCE RESOURCES STATISTICS (SRS)
The legislative mandate for Science Resource Studies (SRS), as stated in the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, is, " to provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data on scientific and engineering resources and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the federal Government ." To meet this mandate, SRS provides policymakers, researchers and other decision makers with high quality data and analysis for making informed decisions about the nation's science, engineering, and technology enterprise. The work of SRS involves survey development, data collection, analysis, information compilation, dissemination, and customer service to meet the statistical demands of a diverse user community, as well as preparation of the biennial reports Science and Engineering Indicators and Women and Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering.
Priorities for the current year of FY 2003 reflect efforts to implement prior-year efforts to improve the quality, relevance, and accessibility of SRS products, and to continue to redesign major components of SRS data collections. Every decade a redesign of the samples and surveys used to collect data on the scientific and engineering workforce is necessary to reflect the results of the Decennial Census. Extensive redesign activities were over the past three years. Implementation of the redesign began in FY 2002. During FY 2003, SRS will continue implementation of the redesign, culminating in the collection of data from the National Survey of College Graduates in 2003. This activity requires additional funding of $8.5 million in both FY 2003 and FY 2004.
Priorities for FY 2004 build on prior efforts to improve the quality,
relevance, and timeliness, and accessibility of SRS products, continue
the redesign of major components of SRS data collections, and implement
such redesigns. SRS will begin data collection of the National Survey
of College Graduates 2003. Data collection will continue through much
of FY 2004 and initial data processing will also be undertaken. During
F 2003, efforts to improve and redesign the Survey of Research and
Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges and the Survey
of Graduate Students and Post Doctorates in Science and Engineering
continued. Improvements to both surveys will be implemented on an ongoing
basis during FT 2004 concurrent with major multi-year redesign efforts
for both surveys. In FY 2004, SRS will begin a comprehensive study of
the feasibility of developing a new ongoing survey to collect information
about individuals in post doctorate positions. SRS will continue in FY
2004 to conduct its other survey and analytical activities that produce
the information for carrying out the NSF statutory mandate, for meeting
the Tools strategic outcome goal of providing "broadly accessible,
state of the art and shared research and education tools," and for
developing Science and Engineering Indicators and Women, Minorities,
and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering. In FY 2004,
SRS will continue to explore options for the redesign of an ongoing mechanism
to obtain current information on public attitudes toward science and engineering
for inclusion in the Science and Engineering Indicators report.