| Federal Statistics in the
FY 2005 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 2005 that have been proposed for the principal statistical agencies provide increases over the resources appropriated in FY 2004. For details of the funding history in fiscal years 2003 through 2005 please see Table 1. The balance of this chapter provides further details on FY 2005 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/ Includes
$125.9 million for FY 2003, $127.6 million for FY 2004 and $149.6 mil.
for FY 2005 from Public Health Service Evaluation Funds.
For FY 2005, 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 release of all remaining data products from the 2002 Economic Census; (2) begin planning for the 2007 Economic Census and Census of Governments; (3) continue efforts begun in FY 2003 to eliminate data gaps by measuring migration across U.S. borders; (4) improve measurement of services by expanding key source data for critical quarterly and annual estimates of the Gross Domestic Product; (5) continue efforts to offer electronic reporting for almost 100 current economic surveys; and (6) support the Automated Export System and accelerate release of trade statistics. 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) complete map feature accuracy within 7.6 meters of true GPS location for 48 percent of all counties in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and island areas; and (3) conduct the first full-year American Community Survey to collect "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 2005, funding is requested to continue publishing official estimates for the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, which began releasing developmental series in 2003, and the American Time Use Survey. American Time Use Survey data will expand the understanding of both the market and nonmarket activities of working Americans, and will be used to evaluate existing estimates of work hours. BLS plans to implement changes to its Locality Pay Surveys program, which will reduce the number of area publications from 89 to 86. In FY 2005, BLS plans to continue its activities to modernize the computing systems for monthly processing of the Producer Price Indexes and U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes, and to improve both programs' data outputs, such as experimental PPIs for goods and services that will provide the first economy-wide measures of changes in producer prices. Planned improvements also include doubling the number of locality of origin indexes from 7 to 17 in the IPP program in 2005. Also in FY 2005, BLS will maintain its continuous updating of the Consumer Price Index by updating the expenditure and population weights biennially, the superlative index annually, outlet samples on a four-year cycle, and item samples in key categories on a two-year cycle, in lieu of performing major revisions about every ten years.
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 2005, funding is requested to complete work begun in 2003 to: 1) accelerate the release of some of the Nation's most important economic statistics to increase their usefulness to policy makers, business leaders, and other users; 2) meet U.S. statistical obligations to international organizations on the Special Data Dissemination Standards and complete the incorporation of the North American Industry Classification System into BEA accounts; 3) improve the economic accounts by acquiring monthly real-time data from private sources to full data gaps in current measures as well as conduct a quarterly survey of large and volatile international services such as telecommunications, finance, and insurance; and 4) produce more current business investment data that include associated employment and compensation estimates on an annual basis in order to provide data needed to conduct analyses of tax policy, business investment and productivity.
STATISTICS OF INCOME, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (SOI)
The proposed FY 2005 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.
Major program changes and new activities planned for FY 2005 include (1) continued acquisition and installation of hardware that will provide the capability to load the SOI population files online to provide for longitudinal analysis for the individual income tax return SOI panel files; (2) continued expansion of the amount of data available for electronic dissemination through the IRS Internet home page.
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 2005 budget proposal includes increases to build upon 2004 efforts to restore and modernize the core agricultural survey and estimates program; partial data acquisition costs associated with ensuring statistically defensible survey precision for small area estimates; funding to support Presidential and Departmental e-Government initiatives; and pay costs. Decreases include cyclical activities associated with the census of agriculture programs. The core agricultural survey and estimates program covers most agricultural commodities produced in the U.S. and encompasses economic, environmental, and rural data. Prior to 2004, this program had not received an increase in funding since 1990, leading to a reduction in the quality of survey data on which NASS estimates are based. The funding is targeted to continue restoring sample sizes for greater statistical defensibility; providing staff needed to assure timeliness and accuracy, manage surveys, review and summarize reported data, and other functions; and meeting research, training, travel, supplies, and other direct expenses.
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 2005, funding is requested to develop an integrated and comprehensive data and analysis framework of the post-farm food system to provide a basis for understanding, monitoring, tracking, and identifying changes in food supply and consumption patterns.
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 the Department of Energy and the Congress.
For FY 2005, funding is requested to: (1) improve the data quality of natural gas and electricity surveys; (2) provide more regional information in the monthly Short-term Energy Outlook; (3) update the core electricity surveys to enhance data quality, and improve estimates of fuel-switching capabilities and other critical parameters; and (4) update the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases survey and database to accommodate new reporting guidelines that are being issued in support of the President's Clean Skies Initiative.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS (NCHS)
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) 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 2005, funding is requested to maintain and transform the core capacities of NCHS. This major new investment recognizes the need to prevent further erosion of HHS' core statistical capacity and to position these surveys to meet new challenges. Increased investments will preserve and modernize the nation's vital statistics system; sustain and transform basic operations of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; maintain and redesign systems for tracking the health care delivery system; and restore the full sample size and redesign the sample for the National Health Interview Survey. With this new investment, NCHS will be in a position to complete a number of steps underway in its major data systems, geared toward updating survey content, methods, and technology. As a result of these steps, NCHS data systems will produce data more quickly, address health topics of current importance, and will be more stable and robust.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS (NCES)
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the Department of Education 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 2005, funding is requested to: (1) assist with support for the second wave of data collection of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort and data release in Spring 2005; (2) continue efforts to improve electronic data collection and data dissemination efforts; (3) support the on-going data collection efforts for the Schools and Staffing Survey, the principal collection on national and state level indicators of teacher and school quality; (4) continue U.S. participation in data collections, analysis, and reporting on international assessments that compare educational performance and progress across countries; and (5) continue support for the National Assessment of Education Progress program and its role in bench marking national and state performance.
BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS (BJS)
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 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 BJS mission is to provide accurate and timely justice data and to support the emerging capacity of State and local governments in the use of data for their justice programs.
For FY 2005, funding is requested to enhance and maintain core statistical programs, including: (1) the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 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. Funding is also requested to initiate conversion of the NCVS to a fully automated data collection process.
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 the newest 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 2005 budget reflects a re-authorization 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 2005 include: Freight and travel flow - research reports, pilot tests and plans for replacing infrequent, incomplete freight and passenger flow surveys with continuous data collection programs that fill critical gaps by 2006: 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 Statistics (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.
A multi-year NAS review of the SRS R&D portfolio of surveys is nearing
completion and is expected to propose significant revisions to components
of the R&D survey portfolio. In FY 2005, SRS will begin to undertake
research and methodological activities in response to the recommendations
included in the review. In FY 2005, continuing improvements will be made
to the Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities
and Colleges and the Survey of Graduate Students and Post doctorates in
Science and Engineering. These improvements will be implemented on an
ongoing basis concurrent with major multi year redesign efforts underway
for both surveys. In FY 2005, SRS will continue feasibility and design
work leading towards the development of an ongoing data collection program
for information on research instrumentation as mandated by the NSF Authorization
Act of 2002. In conjunction with the newly redesigned Facilities Survey,
these data collections will provide critical bench marking information
on the research infrastructure as well as the cyber-infrastructure in
academic research and biomedical enterprise. In FY 2005, SRS will begin
implementation of components of proposed procedures to obtain high quality
information on public understanding of science and technology.