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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on National Statistics
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Coordinating and Sustaining Federal Statistics

A Centralizing Influence in the Federal Statistical System

The U.S. federal statistical system, one of the most decentralized systems in the developed world, is a critical part of the nation’s science and information infrastructure. At present, there are 14 member agencies of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, codified in the Paperwork Reduction Act and chaired by the chief statistician who directs the Statistical and Science Policy Office in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, including: the Bureau of Economic Analysis; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the Bureau of Transportation Statistics; the Economic Research Service and National Agricultural Statistics Service of USDA; the Energy Information Administration; the National Center for Education Statistics; the National Center for Health Statistics; the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics of NSF; the Office of Environmental Information of EPA; the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics of SSA; the Statistics of Income Division of the IRS; and the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, more than 100 other agencies were projected to spend at least $500,000 on “statistical services” in fiscal year 2016. CNSTAT, through its studies, workshops, seminars, and the quadrennial publication of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agencyserves as a centralizing and sustaining influence for the system as a whole. The recommendations and lessons learned from individual panel studies are frequently pertinent to multiple agencies, and the Committee strives to convene activities on methodological and operational problems that may be difficult for individual agencies to address on their own, including extensive work on the continual challenge of expanding data user access while protecting confidentiality of individual records in the Internet age.


Current Projects

Creating the American Opportunity Study (AOS): First Phase Standing Committee

Modernizing the Nation’s Crime Statistics
Completed Projects and Workshops
Evaluation of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Achievement Levels

Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP)

Guidelines for Returning Individual Results from Genome Research Using Population-Based Banked Specimens: A Workshop



Relevant Reports

Using Linked Census, Survey, and Administrative Data to Assess Longer-Term Effects of PolicyProceedings of a Workshop—in Brief  (CNSTAT)

The United States has seen major changes in recent decades in family structures, gender roles, immigration pat- terns, occupational and industrial patterns, and labor markets. All of these factors—and... Read more

Modernizing Crime StatisticsReport 1: Defining and Classifying Crime  (CNSTAT,CLAJ)

To derive statistics about crime – to estimate its levels and trends, assess its costs to and impacts on society, and inform law enforcement approaches to prevent it – a conceptual framework for... Read more

Evaluation of the Achievement Levels for Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress  (CNSTAT,BOTA)

Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has been providing policymakers, educators, and the public with reports on academic performance and progress of the nation’s... Read more

Issues in Returning Individual Results from Genome Research Using Population-Based Banked Specimens, with a Focus on the National Health and Nutrition Examination SurveyWorkshop Summary  (CNSTAT)

Population surveys traditionally collect information from respondents about their circumstances, behaviors, attitudes, and other characteristics. In recent years, many surveys have been collecting not... Read more

Science of Science and Innovation PolicyPrincipal Investigators' Conference Summary  (CNSTAT)

The National Science Foundation developed the Science of Science and Innovation Policy program (SciSIP) in 2006 to fund basic and applied research that bears on and can help guide public- and... Read more

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences  (BBCSS,CNSTAT,CPOP,HSP)

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences examines how to update human subjects protections regulations so that they effectively... Read more

Developing New National Data on Social MobilityA Workshop Summary  (CPOP,CNSTAT)

Developing New National Data on Social Mobility summarizes a workshop convened in June 2013 to consider options for a design for a new national survey on social mobility. The workshop was sponsored ... Read more

Nonresponse in Social Science SurveysA Research Agenda  (CNSTAT)

For many household surveys in the United States, responses rates have been steadily declining for at least the past two decades. A similar decline in survey response can be observed in all wealthy... Read more

Communicating Science and Engineering Data in the Information Age  (CNSTAT,CSTB)

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) communicates its science and engineering (S&E) information to data users in a very fluid... Read more

The Future of Federal Household SurveysSummary of a Workshop  (CNSTAT)

Federal household surveys today face several significant challenges including: increasing costs of data collection, declining response rates, perceptions of increasing response burden, inadequate... Read more

Facilitating Innovation in the Federal Statistical SystemSummary of a Workshop  (CNSTAT)

On May 8, 2009, the symposium, The Federal Statistical System: Recognizing Its Contributions, Moving It Forward was held in Washington, DC. One of the topics considered at that symposium was the... Read more

Conducting Biosocial SurveysCollecting, Storing, Accessing, and Protecting Biospecimens and Biodata  (CNSTAT,CPOP)

Recent years have seen a growing tendency for social scientists to collect biological specimens such as blood, urine, and saliva as part of large-scale household surveys. By combining biological and... Read more

Protecting and Accessing Data from the Survey of Earned DoctoratesA Workshop Summary  (CNSTAT)

The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) collects data on the number and characteristics of individuals receiving research doctoral degrees from all accredited U.S. institutions. The results of this... Read more

Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population SurveysBeyond ADLs and IADLs: Summary of a Workshop  (CNSTAT,CPOP)

Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys summarizes a workshop organized to draw upon recent advances to improve the measurement of physical and cognitive disability in... Read more

Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against TerroristsA Framework for Program Assessment  (CLAJ,CNSTAT,CSTB)

All U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or "mine" personal data -- such as phone records or Web sites visited -- should be required to evaluate the programs' effectiveness,... Read more

Protecting Student Records and Facilitating Education ResearchA Workshop Summary  (CNSTAT,CFE)

Designed to protect the privacy of individual student test scores, grades, and other education records, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 places limits the access of... Read more

Understanding Business DynamicsAn Integrated Data System for America's Future  (CNSTAT)

The U.S. economy is highly dynamic: businesses open and close, workers switch jobs and start new enterprises, and innovative technologies redefine the workplace and enhance productivity. With... Read more

Improving Data to Analyze Food and Nutrition Policies  (CNSTAT)

Read more

Expanding Access to Research DataReconciling Risks and Opportunities  (CNSTAT)

Policy makers need information about the nation—ranging from trends in the overall economy down to the use by individuals of Medicare—in order to evaluate existing programs and to develop new ones.... Read more

Eliminating Health DisparitiesMeasurement and Data Needs  (CNSTAT)

Read more

Survey AutomationReport and Workshop Proceedings  (CNSTAT)

For over 100 years, the evolution of modern survey methodology—using the theory of representative sampling to make interferences from a part of the population to the whole—has been paralleled by a... Read more

Protecting Participants and Facilitating Social and Behavioral Sciences Research  (CNSTAT,BBCSS)

Institutional review boards (IRBs) are the linchpins of the protection systems that govern human participation in research. In recent years, high-profile cases have focused attention on the... Read more

Responsible ResearchA Systems Approach to Protecting Research Participants  

When 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger died in a gene transfer study at the University of Pennsylvania, the national spotlight focused on the procedures used to ensure research participants’ safety and... Read more

Improving Access to and Confidentiality of Research DataReport of a Workshop  (CBASSE)

Improving Access to and Confidentiality of Research Data summarizes a workshop convened by the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) to promote discussion about methods for advancing the often... Read more

Summary of a Workshop on Information Technology Research for Federal Statistics  (CSTB,CPSMA,CNSTAT)

Part of an in-depth study of how information technology research and development could more effectively support advances in the use of information technology (IT) in government, Summary of a Workshop... Read more

Private Lives and Public PoliciesConfidentiality and Accessibility of Government Statistics  (CBASSE)

Americans are increasingly concerned about the privacy of personal data--yet we demand more and more information for public decision making. This volume explores the seeming conflicts between privacy... Read more


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