| Federal Statistics in the
FY 2001 Budget
Edward J. Spar, COPAFS
Statistics produced by the federal government serve as the foundation 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 2001 that have been proposed for the principal statistical agencies provide increases over the resources appropriated in FY 2000. The one major exception is for Periodic Programs at the Census Bureau. For details of funding histories in fiscal years 1999 through 2001, please see Table 1.
Bureau of the Census
The Bureau of the Census collects, compiles, and publishes a broad range of statistics on the population and the economy. The Census Bureau budget 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 of governments.
Table 1. Principal
Federal Statistical Agencies
$67.8 million in FY 1999, $71.7 million in FY 2000, and $76.7 million
in FY 2001 from Public Health Service Evaluation Funds.
For FY 2001, funding is requested for Census 2000 and for Census Bureau economic and demographic programs. For Census 2000, funding is requested to: (1) tabulate and disseminate data; (2) complete field work associated with the Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation (ACE) follow-up operations; (3) close out data capture centers and field offices that will remain open longer as a result of increased work loads; (4) deliver to the President, by December 31, 2000, the data that will be used to apportion congressional seats among the States; (5) deliver local population counts to the States for redistricting by March 31, 2001; (6) compare data from the American Community Survey (ACS) with Census 2000 results; and (7) begin to evaluate census operations. For Census Bureau economic and demographic programs, funding is requested to: (1) measure E-business; (2) conduct an annual Survey of Minority-Owned Business Enterprises; (3) increase the coverage of export data; (4) continue planning for the 2002 Economic Censuses and Census of Governments; (5) improve measurement of economic well-being; and (6) redesign samples for household surveys.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
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 in 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, prices and cost of living, consumer expenditures, wages and employee benefits, occupational injuries and illnesses, collective bargaining activities, productivity and technological change in U.S. industries, the labor force, and employment by industry and occupation.
For FY 2001, funding is requested to: (1) extend Producer Price Index (PPI) coverage for the first time to the construction sector of the U.S. economy, and enhance coverage of the service sector in the PPI and in BLS productivity data; (2) begin a new survey to measure how Americans spend their time in order to improve assessments of national well-being and national production; (3) provide technical guidance for a new Federal-State cooperative employment projections program to enhance the comparability of data among the States, and between State and national projections; (4) increase the scope of labor market information for States and local areas, and improve the statistical quality of local area unemployment statistics used to allocate Federal funds; (5) continue work on replacing the Standard Industrial Classification system with the first version of the new North American Industry Classification System; and (6) contract with the National Research Council (NRC) to develop improved methods to measure discrimination in labor markets and employment relationships.
Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
BEA 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 U.S. 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.
In FY 2001, BEA proposes to develop new data sources and methods to measure E-business activity and to incorporate that information into BEA's economic accounts. In order to account for the impact of E-business on the economy, BEA will work with other statistical agencies to: (1) ensure that E-business, including related investment, is captured in the estimates of GDP and other economic accounts data, and (2) develop estimates of the impact of E-business across products and industries, including investment, prices, and distribution.
Statistics of Income (SOI), Internal Revenue Service
The proposed FY 2001 funding for SOI provides annual income, financial, and tax data on individuals, corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships and tax-exempt organizations. Major program changes and new activities planned for FY 2001 include the introduction of new panel studies for individual income tax returns, sales of capital asset returns, and elimination of the sales of capital assets cross-section study. The Year 2000 Controlled Foreign Partnership Study will capture data for foreign partnerships controlled by U.S. taxpayers that are included in SOI's corporation and partnership samples. The 1998 Gift Tax "Retrospective Panel Study" will compile data on lifetime taxable gifts for a sample of individual taxpayers.
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
NASS has the responsibility for collecting and publishing current statistics on the Nation's agriculture. NASS collects and reports data on 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 five years on all aspects of the agricultural economy down to the county level. Data collection for the 1997 Census of Agriculture is currently underway.
For FY 2001, funding is requested to: (1) establish a computer security architecture to ensure system security, given the market sensitivity of NASS reports and the importance of confidentiality for data providers; (2) expand Hog and Pig reports to a monthly basis in keeping with provisions of Title IX-Livestock Mandatory; and (3) expand the NASS environmental statistics program by including additional crops and the nursery and greenhouse sector in pesticide use surveys. The net decrease in the Census of Agriculture program reflects the completion of the decennial Agricultural Economics and Land Ownership.
Economic Research Service (ERS)
ERS 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 2001, funding is requested to: (1) analyze the effects of changes in the structure of the food and agriculture sectors on the competitiveness and efficiency of food and agricultural markets; (2) undertake research and outreach programs on international issues affecting the U.S. food and agriculture sectors and on alleviation of causes of global food insecurity; and (3) support an initiative on economic incentives for carbon sequestration and trace gas emissions control in agriculture.
Energy Information Administration (EIA)
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), Congress, and other federal agencies.
For FY 2001, funding is requested to: (1) overhaul the natural gas and electricity surveys and data systems to recognize and accommodate the changes in the natural gas and electricity industries brought on by deregulation and restructuring; (2) update EIA's 20-year-old energy consumption surveys; (3) enhance EIA's international analysis capabilities in order to assess carbon mitigation, permit trading, and other global climate change issues; (4) reverse the deterioration in data quality and accuracy in crude oil, diesel, gasoline, and natural gas production surveys; and (5) continue development and integration of energy survey data collection and processing to reduce the costs and improve the timeliness of energy data.
National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
NCHS monitors the Nation's health and use of health services and explores the relationship between risk factors and disease. The mission of NCHS is to provide statistical information that will guide policies to improve the health of the American people. Data from NCHS include the use of hospitals, nursing homes, and physician services; financial and non-financial barriers to health care access; the health of racial and ethnic population groups; infant mortality and access to prenatal care; death from diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS; health insurance coverage; and immunization status.
For FY 2001, funding is requested to: (1) continue work with States to improve the vital statistics system, including movement toward implementing new model birth and death certificates, and helping to develop electronic birth and death registration systems; (2) proceed with the sample redesign for the National Health Interview Survey, part of a government-wide redesign of household surveys following the decennial census; (3) continue the field operations for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; (4) make further improvements to surveys for monitoring the health care delivery system, including organizational and financial arrangements of providers, as part of a public/private effort to address major data gaps in this area; and (5) make data more readily available to users by improving timeliness and access through the use of automated systems and the Internet.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
NCES collects, analyzes, and reports statistics on education in the U.S., and conducts studies on comparisons of international education statistics. NCES also promotes the use of standardized terminology and definitions for the collection of education statistics.
For FY 2001 funding is requested to: (1) continue redesign of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System for a new web-based system; (2) improve dissemination of consumer information on college costs and prices; (3) support the Longitudinal Surveys Program, including the new Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002; (4) continue work on the Birth Cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study; (5) support Institutional Census Surveys for the Common Core of Data and Libraries programs; (6) improve the Statistics Research and Development Program; and (7) enhance the National Assessment of Educational Progress' research capabilities in Longitudinal Research and Exceptional Children Exclusion Research.
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
BJS is responsible for the collection, analysis, and publication of statistical information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the BJS' mission is to provide accurate and timely justice data and to support the emerging capacities of State and local governments in the use of these data for their justice programs.
For FY 2001, funding is requested to: (1) develop an ongoing statistical program that provides systematic and recurring information on criminal victimization of persons with disabilities; (2) develop and monitor statistical measures designed to examine concerns about racial discrimination in the administration of justice; (3) gather administrative data from law enforcement agencies on the content and consequences of police-initiated stops of motorists for routine traffic violations; (4) begin converting existing paper-based collections of administrative data from State and local units of government to Internet-based, paperless collection programs; (5) gather information on changes over time in the incidence and prevalence, costs and consequences, and prosecutions, convictions, and sentencing of computer crime offenses; (6) produce consistent annual measures of the incidence of hate crimes; and (7) develop a tribal data collection program to collect data on the types and characteristics of criminal justice agencies operating in these jurisdictions.
Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)
BTS compiles, analyzes, and produces information on the Nation's transportation system. BTS also collects information on modes of transportation and other areas as needed, and enhances the quality and effectiveness of the statistical programs of the Department of Transportation (DOT) through research, the development of guidelines, and the promotion of improvements in data acquisition and use.
For FY 2001, funding is requested to: (1) establish a statistical consulting service to assist department-wide statistical activities and provide support for improving data quality and timeliness for departmental GPRA-related data; (2) develop measures of risk versus measures of exposure to improve the quality of transportation safety data; (3) continue work with the Federal Highway Administration to combine and coordinate the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey with the American Travel Survey; (4) manage development of the congressionally mandated Intermodal Transportation Data Base, an Internet-based data access and dissemination tool that enables quick response to data-related questions; (5) improve data analyses on patterns of passenger travel and goods movements; (6) initiate development of a comprehensive National Spatial Data Infrastructure by integrating road network data developed at State and local levels; 7) improve statistical tools for geospatial data analyses and promote their use in transportation applications; and (8) undertake analyses as directed by Congress in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) of 1998, including the International Trade Impact Study and other studies related to international transportation.