Thursday, April 24, 2014 
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Coordinating and Sustaining Federal Statistics

Decennial Census and American Community Survey

Economic Measurement

Federal Household and Business Surveys

Health and Social Welfare

Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency

Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Indicators

Statistical Methods and Estimates for Policy Use


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The NonCitizen Population Under 35, Live on the C-SPAN’s "America by the Numbers" Segment of “Washington Journal”

Seven percent of the total U.S. population under age 35 is a noncitizen. Find out more on Friday, Feb. 28, at approximately 8:20 a.m. EST as Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Foreign-Born Population Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau, discusses statistics about the noncitizen population under 35.

Twitter Version:
Watch Noncitizen Population Under 35 w/Elizabeth Grieco from @uscensusbureau on @cspanwj #ABTN Fri Feb 28 @ 8:20amEST

Each Friday, 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


— March 24, 2014 —



 People News


We extend our deep thanks and appreciation to Cynthia Clark for her significant contributions to the federal statistical system during her 6 years as administrator of the National Agricultural Statistics Service and her many years of federal statistical service before that and wish her all the best in her retirement, which occurs effective May 3, 2014. During her tenure as NASS administrator, she achieved a major reorganization of the NASS field and headquarters operations and fostered the use of administrative records and statistical modeling to improve estimates from agricultural surveys and censuses. Previously, she worked for 13 years at NASS—as director of NASS’s Census and Survey Division—before rejoining the U.S. Census Bureau as associate director for methodology and standards (1996–2004), in which capacity her accomplishments included developing an administrative records research program, a research and evaluation program for the 2000 census, and a set of standards for statistical quality in surveys. From 2004 to 2007, she headed the methodological directorate of the Office for National Statistics of the United Kingdom. In 2006–2007, she served on the CNSTAT Panel to Review USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey. She is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Royal Statistical Society and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. She holds a B.A. in mathematics from Mills College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in statistics from Iowa State University. She and her husband plan to serve an 18-month mission at the Nauvoo, IL Mormon Church historic site, which is restored to its 1840s period. She will receive the Iowa State University Distinguished Alumni Award on April 11.

We extend our deep thanks and appreciation to Steve Landefeld for his significant contributions to the federal statistical system during his 19 years as director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis and wish him all the best in his retirement, which occurs April 14, 2014. Prior to being named director, he held other positions within BEA, including acting director, deputy director, and associate director for international economics. While at BEA, he led a number of pioneering statistical and management initiatives that have been recognized nationally and internationally, including the regionalization of GDP. As director, he made the improvement and updating of BEA’s accounts a cooperative partnership with BEA user groups. Previously, he was chief of staff for the Council of Economic Advisers during the Reagan and Bush (I) administrations, director of the Business Issues Analysis Division at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and research assistant professor at Georgetown University. He has received the Henri Willem Methorst Medal from the International Statistical Institute, two Abramson Scroll Awards from the National Association for Business Economics, multiple departmental awards at the Department of Commerce, the Julius Shiskin Award for economic statistics, and most recently, a Distinguished Executive Award. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland. Upon retirement he says he will be doing some teaching at a local university.

In other federal statistics personnel news, David Johnson, chief of the Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division at the Census Bureau for the past 8 years, will become chief economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis on April 7. At the Census Bureau, he led the reengineering of the Survey of Income and Program Participation and shepherded the introduction of the Supplemental Poverty Measure as a regularly published statistic. He was formerly with the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1990 to 2006, where in his last position he was responsible for the Consumer Price Index program. At BEA, he replaces Ana Aizcorbe who accepted a position as research professor at Virginia Tech, Social and Decision Analytics Lab, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. Dan Weinberg, senior research scientist with the Census Bureau, is retiring from federal service at the end of March. He previously served as assistant director for the 2010 decennial census and the American Community Survey, chief economist and chief of the Center for Economic Studies, and chief of the Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, all at Census, where his service began in 1989. From 1980 to 1989 he was with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He plans to work part-time as a visiting scholar with the Virginia Tech Social and Decision Analytics Lab (part of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute), and also part-time with CNSTAT, where we will welcome him on April 8 as a senior program officer, working on an international conference on census methods.

 Event Other News


We call to your attention the upcoming CNSTAT and IOM Food and Nutrition Board Workshop on Data and Research to Improve the U.S. Food Availability Data System and Estimates of Food Loss, to be held April 8-9, 2014, in the NAS Keck Center, 500 5th St., NW. An announcement of the workshop, including a flyer, the agenda, and an RSVP link, can be found on the CNSTAT website.

We note with complete approbation that the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum on February 14, 2014, on Guidance for Providing and Using Administrative Data for Statistical Purposes, available in PDF. This represents exceptional hard work and perseverance on the part of the OMB Statistical and Science Policy staff. To excerpt from Patty Becker’s excellent Southeast Michigan Census Council Newsletter (vol. 24, no. 2, March 2014),
     The focus of the Memorandum is on data sets which cannot be made publicly available due to statutory, regulatory, or policy protections. OMB has noted that agencies sometimes do not make appropriate use of these types of datasets because they think that the requirements and protections that apply to non-public data are too complicated and burdensome to navigate.
The Memorandum has four elements:
  • It calls for departmental and agency leadership to foster greater collaboration between program and statistical offices, to develop strong data stewardship policies and practices around the statistical use of administrative data, to require documentation of quality control measures and key attributes of important administrative datasets, and to require designation of responsibilities and practices through the use of agreements among these offices.
  • It encourages Federal departments and agencies to promote the use of administrative data for statistical purposes and provides guidance in addressing legal and policy requirements for such uses, including dealing with privacy and confidentiality issues.
  • It provides some “best practice” tools and a model interagency agreement to use in accomplishing these goals.
  • It requires each department/agency to report to OMB, within 120 days, on its progress in implementing this Memorandum. 
     The Memorandum includes a 36-page attachment with more details on how its goals and objectives can be accomplished.

Nominations are sought for the 2014 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. The award is intended to reflect the special characteristics that marked Roger Herriot's career including: dedication to the issues of measurement; improvements in the efficiency of data collection programs; and improvements and use of statistical data for policy analysis. Roger was the associate commissioner of statistical standards and methodology at the National Center for Education Statistics when he died in 1994. Prior to his service at NCES, he held several positions at the U.S. Census Bureau, including chief of the Population Division.
     The award is intended to recognize individuals or teams who, like Roger, develop unique and innovative approaches to the solution of statistical problems in federal data collection programs. It is not limited to senior members of an organization, nor is it to be considered as a culmination of a long period of service. Individuals or teams at all levels within federal statistical agencies, other government organizations, nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and the academic community may be nominated on the basis of their contributions. The recipient of the 2014 Roger Herriot Award will be chosen by a committee comprising representatives of the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association and of the Washington Statistical Society. The award consists of a $1,000 honorarium and a framed citation, to be presented at the Joint Statistical Meetings in August 2014. The Washington Statistical Society will also host a seminar given by the winner on a subject of his or her own choosing.
     Nomination packages should contain: A cover letter from the nominator that includes references to specific examples of the nominee's contributions to innovation in federal statistics, which can be in methodology, procedure, organization, administration, or other areas of federal statistics; up to six additional letters in support; and a current vita. For team nominations, the vitae of all team members should be included. Completed nominations must be received by April 1, 2014. For more information, contact John Dixon at  


 Report News


Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for Protecting Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences, the final report of a DBASSE committee led by the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences with participation from CNSTAT and the Committee on Population, was released in prepublication form on January 9, 2014. The committee was chaired by Susan Fiske, Princeton, and funding was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the National Academy of Education. The report is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

The Report in Brief—
     The ethics of research with human subjects has captured scientific and regulatory attention for half a century. To keep abreast of the universe of changes that factor into the ethical conduct of research today, the Department of Health and Human Services published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in July 2011. Recognizing that widespread technological and societal transformations have occurred in the contexts for and conduct of human research since the passage of the National Research Act of 1974, the ANPRM revisits the regulations mandated by the Act in a correspondingly comprehensive manner. Its proposals aim to modernize the Common Rule, which has not been updated since 1991, and to improve the efficiency of the work conducted under its auspices. Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences identifies issues raised in the ANPRM that are critical and feasible for the federal government to address for the protection of participants and for the advancement of the social and behavioral sciences. For each identified issue, the report provides guidance for IRBs on techniques to address it, with specific examples and best practice models to illustrate how the techniques would be applied to different behavioral and social sciences research procedures.

Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation: Improving Indicators to Inform Policy, the final report of the CNSTAT and Board on Science, Economic, and Technology Policy Panel on Developing Science, Technology, and Innovation Indicators for the Future, was released in prepublication form, November 25, 2013. It is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly. The panel was requested by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) and co-chaired by Robert Litan (Bloomberg Government) and Andrew Wyckoff (OECD).

The Report in Brief—
     Since the 1950s, under congressional mandate, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)— through NCSES and its predecessors—has produced regularly updated measures of research and development expenditures, employment and training in science and engineering, and other indicators of the state of U.S. science and technology. A more recent focus has been on measuring innovation in the corporate sector. NCSES not only collects its own data on science, technology, and innovation (STI) activities, but also incorporates data from other agencies to produce indicators that are used for monitoring purposes— including comparisons among sectors, regions, and with other countries—and for identifying trends that may require policy attention and generate research needs. NCSES provides extensive tabulations and microdata files for in-depth analysis. Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation provides recommendations about the need for revised, refocused, and newly developed indicators of STI activities that would enable NCSES to respond to changing policy concerns. The report identifies both existing and potential data resources and tools that NCSES could exploit to further develop its indicators program. Finally, the report considers strategic pathways for NCSES to move forward with an improved STI indicators program that will enhance NCSES's ability to produce indicators that capture change in science, technology, and innovation to inform policy and optimally meet the needs of its user community.

Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault, the final report of the CNSTAT Panel on Measuring Rape and Sexual Assault in Bureau of Justice Statistics Household Surveys, co-chaired by William Kalsbeek (University of North Carolina) and Candace Kruttschnitt (University of Toronto), was released in prepublication form, November 19, 2013. It is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

The Report in Brief—
     Rape and sexual assault are among the most injurious crimes a person can inflict on another. The effects are devastating, extending beyond the initial victimization to consequences that can include unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, sleep and eating disorders, and other emotional and physical problems. Understanding the frequency and context under which rape and sexual assault are committed is vital in directing resources for law enforcement and support for victims and in identifying interventions that can reduce the risk of future attacks. At the request of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the panel considered best practices for measuring rape and sexual assault in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and other BJS household surveys. While the NCVS is the premier survey for estimating most types of crimes, including those not reported to the police, the panel concluded that it likely is undercounting rape and sexual assault and that the most accurate counts of rape and sexual assault cannot be achieved without measuring them separately from other victimizations. The panel recommended that BJS develop a separate survey for measuring rape and sexual assault. The new survey should more precisely define ambiguous words such as "rape," give more privacy to respondents, and take other steps that would improve the accuracy of responses. BJS already has research and testing under way along these lines through a contract with Westat.

Research Opportunities Concerning the Causes and Consequences of Child Food Insecurity and Hunger: A Workshop Summary, was released in prepublication form on September 5, 2013. This CNSTAT and Food and Nutrition Board workshop was chaired by James Ziliak (University of Kentucky) and sponsored by the Economic Research Service and Food and Nutrition Service, USDA. The workshop summary is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

The Report in Brief—
     Section 141 of The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 provides funding for a research program on the causes and consequences of childhood hunger and food insecurity, and the characteristics of households with childhood hunger and food insecurity, with a particular focus on efforts to improve the knowledge base regarding contributing factors, geographic distribution, programmatic effectiveness, public health and medical costs, and consequences for child development, well-being, and educational attainment. The Economic Research Service and Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted two outreach efforts to obtain input from the research community and other stakeholders to help focus on areas and methods with the greatest research potential. First, the Food and Nutrition Service sought written comments to selected questions through publication of a Federal Register Notice. Second, FNS commissioned a workshop under the auspices of the Committee on National Statistics of the National Research Council and the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.

     The summary of the workshop (held in April 2013) reviews the adequacy of current knowledge, identifies research gaps, and considers data availability on economic, health, social, cultural, demographic, and other factors that contribute to childhood hunger or food insecurity. It also considers the geographic distribution of childhood hunger and food insecurity; the extent to which existing federal assistance programs reduce childhood hunger and food insecurity; childhood hunger and food insecurity persistence and the extent to which they are due to gaps in program coverage, the inability of potential participants to access programs, or the insufficiency of program benefits or services. The summary, which includes an extensive bibliography, will be a resource to inform discussions about the public health and medical costs of childhood hunger and food insecurity through its focus on determinants of child food insecurity and hunger, individual, community, and policy responses to hunger, impacts of child food insecurity and hunger, and measurement issues. 

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 124th meeting will be held May 8-9, 2014, in the NAS main building at 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC. On the 9th, 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. Angus Deaton, Dwight D. Eisenhower professor of economics and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University, will be the featured speaker at the seminar. He will discuss challenges in measuring inequality, drawing on his recently published book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality. Angus served on CNSTAT and the panels that produced the 1995 report, Measuring Poverty—A New Approach, and the 2002 report, At What Price? Conceptualizing and Measuring Cost-of-Living and Price Indexes. Serving as discussants will be David Johnson, shortly to be chief economist at BEA (on income and poverty measurement), and Sam Preston, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and a former CNSTAT member (on health outcome measurement).

CNSTAT’s 125th meeting will be held October 23-24, 2014, in the NAS main building at 2101 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC. On the 24th, 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 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.


January 2014 
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