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“Domestic Violence in America”, Live on C-SPAN’s "America by the Numbers" Segment of “Washington Journal”

Did you know that domestic violence accounted for 21 percent of all violent victimization? Find out more on Oct. 10 at approximately 9:15-10 a.m. EDT as Michael Planty, chief of the Victimization Statistics Unit with the Bureau of Justice Statistics, will appear live on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” to discuss trends in domestic violence in America from 1994 to 2013. 

Twitter Version:
Watch “Domestic Violence in US” w/Michael Planty, Bureau of Justice Statistics live on @CSPANWJ Fri Oct 10 @ 9AM EDT 

C-SPAN’s “America By the Numbers” segment features information from the federal statistical system. The program highlights the trends and allows the public to call in or email their views. More information on previous C-SPAN programs is available at


— November 24, 2014 —

NOTE: We call your attention to two important developments for the federal statistical community—
(1) The latest edition of the OMB Statistical and Science Policy Office “blue book,” officially known as Statistical Programs of the U.S. Government—Fiscal Year 2015, was released on October 14, 2014. Available in PDF, this is an invaluable guide to the 127 federal programs accounting for $500,000 or more of annual expenditures for such statistical activities as data collection and estimation.

(2) A Federal Register notice of October 31, 2014, described the Census Bureau’s review of content for the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Bureau’s proposal to eliminate questions on field of bachelor’s degree, marital history, and business or medical office on property from the survey. The FR notice requests public comments, due December 30, 2014, to be sent to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via e-mail at The Census Bureau will review the comments, revise its recommendations as appropriate, and send its proposed content changes to OMB, which will initiate a second public comment period before any changes are final.


 People News


We note with sorrow the death of Michael J. Batutis, at his home in Lancaster, PA, on November 1, 2014, after an extended illness. Michael retired from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009 as chief of the Population Estimates Branch where he was responsible for overseeing national population estimates and the evaluation and accuracy of the decennial census counts before publication. Before joining the Census Bureau, he was employed by New York State as chief demographer in the Department of Economic Development. Michael authored and co- authored several publications and articles on population estimates and state data information.

We congratulate Brian Harris-Kojetin, senior statistician with the OMB Statistical and Science Policy Office, on receiving the 2014 Pat Doyle Award for his many contributions to the Government Statistics Section (GSS) of the American Statistical Association (ASA), including his outstanding leadership as chair of GSS, and to federal statistics more broadly. The GSS Executive Committee created the award in 2005 as a tribute to Pat’s dedication to the statistical field and the GSS during her lifetime. When Pat died, she left her imprints on an astonishingly wide range of projects and activities in the U.S. federal statistical community, and the award in her name is given to a person who contributes to the GSS in a way that leaves a lasting impact on GSS and the ASA.

We congratulate the following individuals who have served on CNSTAT and/or its study panels on their appointment, November 12, 2014, to the 2015 Technical Panel on Assumptions and Methods. The panel is commissioned by the Social Security Advisory Board to review the assumptions and methods used by the Social Security trustees in their annual report on the program’s financial status.

  • Alicia Munnell (chair), Peter F. Drucker professor of management science, Carroll School of Management, and director, Center for Retirement Research, Boston College;
  • Katharine Abraham, professor of economics and survey methodology, University of Maryland;
  • David Autor, professor and associate department head, MIT Department of Economics, and director of the NBER disability research center;
  • Peter Diamond, Institute professor (emeritus), Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and
  • Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee professor of economics, Harvard University, and director of the NBER Development of the American Economy program.

We congratulate Susan Murphy, H.E. Robbins distinguished university professor of statistics, professor of psychiatry, and research professor, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, on her election, October 20, 2014, to membership in the Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academies Complex. She served on the CNSTAT Panel on Handling Missing Data in Clinical Trials.

We congratulate Nathaniel Schenker, director of the Office of Research and Methodology of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), on receiving the 2014 Owen Thornberry Excellence in Leadership Award from NCHS on September 17, 2014. The annual award was established in 1996 to recognize the outstanding managerial leadership of an NCHS employee. Its namesake, who served as the director of the Division of Health Interview Statistics, led efforts to conduct the first nationwide surveys of health promotion and disease prevention and AIDS knowledge and attitudes and is recognized for his contributions to data quality in telephone surveys. Nat is director of the NCHS Office of Research and Methodology and president of the American Statistical Association. He is also a member of the CNSTAT panel to review the 2010 census and plan for 2020.

We congratulate Monroe Sirken on his recent decision to endow a fund at the American Statistical Association to recognize a distinguished survey researcher. The first honoree will give the first Sirken Lecture at this year’s Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle, Washington, and receive a $5,000 honorarium. Monroe earned his Ph.D. in sociology in 1950 from the University of Washington. He was a charter member of the National Center for Health Statistics and worked there for more than 50 years as chief mathematical statistician and associate director for research and methodology. Interested in survey methods, Monroe introduced network sampling to improve survey designs of rare and elusive populations and applied the method to a broad range of practical and often intractable survey problems. He strongly advocated conducting survey methods research at the intersection of the statistical, social, and cognitive sciences and information technology. He also introduced the first cognitive research laboratory dedicated to designing and testing survey questionnaires and data presentation methods. With the quality of Sirken’s work in mind, the Sirken Award Committee will select the Sirken Lecturer based on outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary survey research that improve methods of collecting, verifying, processing, presenting, or analyzing survey data. Nominations are due December 15 and should include a nominating letter, three supporting letters, and a curriculum vitae. Send nominations to Pam Craven at

CNSTAT staff news—
We congratulate CNSTAT director Constance Citro on receiving the 2014 Waksberg Award from Survey Methodology (a publication of Statistics Canada) and the American Statistical Association. The award honors Joseph Waksberg, who made many important contributions to survey methodology in his career at the U.S. Census Bureau and Westat. (Joe served as a member of the CNSTAT panel that produced the 1985 report, The Bicentennial Census: New Directions for Methodology in 1990; Connie and CNSTAT senior program officer Mike Cohen were staff to the panel.) Each award winner is asked to prepare an article as part of the Waksberg Invited Paper Series to review the development and current state of a significant topic within the field of survey methodology and reflect the mixture of theory and practice that characterized Joe's work. In coming up with the 2014 award winner, the committee stated that “Connie's career in promoting survey research methods in the interest of social and public policy is consistent with Joe's wide ranging interest as a survey statistician and survey researcher. Connie's selection also represents an attempt by our committee to broaden the representation of survey methodologists and practitioners in the long line of Waksberg Award winners.” Connie presented her paper, “From Multiple Modes for Surveys to Multiple Data Sources for Estimates,” at the International Methodology Symposium in Ottawa on October 30, 2014, it will be published in the December 2014 issue of Survey Methodology.

We welcome Mary Ann Kasper to the CNSTAT staff as a senior program assistant. Mary Ann has worked with several DBASSE boards in her years with the National Academies. You will note her name listed as assisting with several new CNSTAT projects in the project information section below.

We note, with great appreciation for her outstanding contributions to facilitating CNSTAT operations and best wishes for her future endeavors, the departure of Jacqui Sovde, CNSTAT program coordinator, on December 1, 2014, after 7 years with the National Academies, the last 3 years with CNSTAT. Jacqui is moving to California to pursue a career with arts organizations. (NOTE: CNSTAT is recruiting for Jacqui’s replacement: please visit this link–job #140247-7.)

We note, with immense appreciation for his outstanding contributions to CNSTAT and its parent unit, the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE), and all best wishes for his future endeavors, the departure of Miron Straf from the National Academies on December 5, 2014, to pursue new opportunities. Miron is well known to many in the statistical and research communities from his foundational service with CNSTAT and DBASSE and as 2002 president of the American Statistical Association and editor for Chance Magazine of a well-received humor column from 1988–1998. Miron received B.S. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Chicago. After several years as assistant professor of statistics at the University of California, Berkeley, Miron joined the staff of the new Committee on National Statistics as a research associate in 1974. After a year at the London School of Economics, Miron became CNSTAT research director in 1978 and director in 1987, a position he held until 1999. During his tenure leading CNSTAT, Miron initiated over 50 major studies and 40 workshops on a wide range of important issues for federal statistics. He co-edited with Stephen Fienberg and the late Margaret Martin a landmark 1985 CNSTAT publication, Sharing Research Data; co-edited with Thomas Jabine, Judith Tanur, and Roger Tourangeau an influential 1984 CNSTAT publication on Cognitive Aspects of Survey Methodology (for which the editors received the 2005 Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research); and initiated in 1992, CNSTAT’s consequential white paper, Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, aka “the purple book,” currently in its fifth edition (2013). As deputy director for special projects of DBASSE, Miron most recently co-edited with Richard Celeste and Ann Griswold a congressionally mandated report, Furthering America’s Research Enterprise (National Research Council, 2014), and before that, co-edited with Kenneth Prewitt and Thomas Schwandt, Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy (National Research Council, 2012). Miron is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

 Event Other News


The 2014 FCSM Statistical Policy Seminar, “Official Statistics in a Changing Society—Making Choices and Balancing Tradeoffs,” will be held December 15-16, 2014, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Register at this link. The participants include a galaxy of notables in the Washington statistical community.

Save the Date! – The 24th Annual Hansen Lecture will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 20th, 2015, the exact time to be determined. The lecture will take place at the usual location, the USDA Auditorium in Washington, DC. The speaker will be Danny Pfeffermann, director of the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel. The title of the lecture is “Methodological Issues and Challenges in the Production of Official Statistics.” There will be two discussants: Lawrence Brown, professor of statistics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and chair of CNSTAT; and John Eltinge, associate commissioner for the Office of Survey Methods Research at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A full announcement will be posted once the details are finalized.


 Report News


Reliability Growth: Enhancing Defense System Reliability, the final report of the CNSTAT Panel on Panel on the Theory and Application of Reliability Growth Modeling to Defense Systems, was released in prepublication form on November 12, 2014. It is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly. The panel was chaired by Arthur Fries, Institute for Defense Analyses, for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, and Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

The Report in Brief—
     A high percentage of defense systems fail to meet their reliability requirements. Those systems are not only less likely to successfully carry out their intended missions, but they also could endanger the lives of the operators. Moreover, reliability failures discovered after deployment can result in costly and strategic delays and the need for expensive redesign, which often limits the tactical situations in which the system can be used. Finally, systems that fail to meet their reliability requirements are much more likely to need additional scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and to need more spare parts and possibly replacement systems, all of which can substantially increase the life-cycle costs of a system. Beginning in 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) undertook a concerted effort to raise the priority of reliability through greater use of design for reliability techniques, reliability growth testing, and formal reliability growth modeling, by both the contractors and DOD units. To this end, handbooks, guidances, and formal memoranda were revised or newly issued to reduce the frequency of reliability deficiencies for defense systems in operational testing and the effects of those deficiencies. Reliability Growth evaluates these recent changes and, more generally, assesses how current DOD principles and practices could be modified to increase the likelihood that defense systems will satisfy their reliability requirements. The report examines changes to the reliability requirements for proposed systems; defines modern design and testing for reliability; discusses the contractor's role in reliability testing; and summarizes the current state of formal reliability growth modeling.

Data and Research to Improve the U.S. Food Availability System and Estimates of Food Loss: A Workshop Summary, was released in prepublication form, September 26, 2014. It is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly. The workshop was requested by the Economic Research Service/USDA and was chaired by Mary Muth (RTI International).

The Report in Brief
     The ERS/USDA Food Availability Data System includes several distinct but related series on food and nutrient availability for consumption. The data serve as popular proxies for actual consumption at the national level for over 200 commodities (e.g., fresh spinach, beef, and eggs). The core Food Availability (FA) data series provides estimates of the amount of food available, per capita, for human consumption in the United States with data back to 1909 for many commodities. The Loss-Adjusted Food Availability (LAFA) data series is derived from the FA data series by adjusting for food spoilage, plate waste, and other losses to more closely approximate actual intake. This past fiscal year, as part of its initiative to systematically review all of its major data series, ERS decided to review the FADS data system. Data and Research to Improve the U.S. Food Availability System and Estimates of Food Loss is the summary of a workshop convened by CNSTAT and the IOM Food and Nutrition Board to advance knowledge and understanding of the measurement and technical aspects of the data supporting the LAFA data series so that these data series and subsequent food availability and food loss estimates can be maintained and improved. The workshop considered such issues as the effects of termination of selected Census Bureau and USDA data series on estimates for affected food groups and commodities; the potential for using other data sources, such as scanner data, to improve estimates of food availability; and possible ways to improve the data on food loss at the farm and retail levels and at restaurants. This report considers knowledge gaps, data sources that may be available or could be generated to fill gaps, what can be learned from other countries and international organizations, ways to ensure consistency of treatment of commodities across series, and the most promising opportunities for new data for the various food availability series.

Reminder: PDF versions of CNSTAT and NAS reports are available for free download at The National Academies Press website, NOTE: The download site asks for your e-mail and a password. If you don’t have an NAP account and don’t want to have one, then provide your e-mail and click “I don’t have an account;” on the next page click “accept NAP policies” and “log in as guest”. 


Reminder: Slides from previous CNSTAT public seminars, and from several major workshops, are available on the Presentations page on the CNSTAT website.


 CNSTAT Meetings

CNSTAT holds three regular meetings each year, with its spring and fall meeting dates following a set formula; our May meetings are always the Thursday–Friday preceding Mother’s Day and our October meetings are always the second-to-last Thursday–Friday of the month. Here are the next three meetings:

CNSTAT’s 126th meeting will be held February 6-7, 2015, at the Beckman Center of the National Academies in Irvine, CA. It will be a retreat meeting; there will be no agency head luncheon or public seminar.

CNSTAT’s 127th meeting will be held May 7-8, 2015, in the NAS main building at 2101 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC. On the 8th, the meeting will feature a luncheon with statistical agency heads, followed by a public seminar, beginning with light refreshments at 2 pm and ending with a reception at 4:30 pm.

CNSTAT’s 128th meeting will be held October 22–23, 2015, in the NAS main building at 2101 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC. On the 23rd, the meeting will feature a luncheon with statistical agency heads, followed by a public seminar, beginning with light refreshments at 2 pm and ending with a reception at 4:30 pm.


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