All posts by Mauricio Ortiz

APDU Treasurer

Why Attend the Conference? Learn About New Datasets

By APDU Board Member Mauricio Ortiz, Bureau of Economic Analysis

Two new federal datasets worth keeping an eye on, the Community Resilience Estimates (CRE) from the Census Bureau and the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) by state estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).  Both these datasets should help shed light on the course of the economic recovery across the country from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CRE estimates are a relatively new data set that provides county and census tract level estimates of “community resilience”.  Community resilience defined as “the capacity of individuals and households to absorb, endure, and recover from the health, social, and economic impacts of a disaster such as a hurricane or pandemic.” Using micro data from the American Community Survey (ACS) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), individual and household characteristics are used to measure 11 risk factors in each census tract and county. The 11 risk factors determine each geography’s CRE scores. The scores reflect a best guess of a geography’s capacity and resources to overcome the obstacles presented during a hazardous event.  The 11 risk factors include things like income to poverty ratios for households, households with no employed persons, individuals with no health insurance coverage, individuals 65 years or older, and individuals with diabetes.  In my opinion, a unique and interesting data set that if paired with other statistics, such as GDP and personal income by county estimates, may tell us insightful information of how the economic recovery is playing out across the country.

For more information visit the CRE webpage:

The PCE by state estimates are a data set that has been around since 2014 and are available from 1997 forward. This October, when BEA releases annual estimates of PCE by state for 2020, BEA plans to expand the state-by-state consumer spending estimates for the whole time series. Providing more detail by type of product and by function that matches the level of detail already made available by BEA for the national estimates. Spending expenditures by type of product will be expanded from 24 product types to 113 product types and spending expenditures by type of function will be made available for 124 function types. These additional statistics will help paint a more nuanced picture of spending by individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and shed light on how consumer behavior changed during the pandemic.

For more information visit the PCE by state webpage:

Why attend APDU’s annual conference? You can learn more about publicly available datasets like the two I have described. You get to meet and make connections with the individuals engaged in producing these statistics; and you get to see how publicly available data is being used to inform decisions and research.  These are the things that make attending the APDU annual conference special. I hope to see you there.

APDU Conference Chair Invites You to the APDU Annual Conference

As 2019 APDU Annual Conference Committee Chair, I would like to cordially invite you to attend what is shaping up to be a fantastic 2019 APDU Annual Conference July 9 – 10 at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, VA.  The 2019 Annual Conference “Wide World of Data” will focus on three main themes this year: the breadth of public data; diverse uses of public data; and what is being done to strengthen and support the public data system.  The conference will once again be an excellent opportunity for users and producers of public data to connect, share information, and learn.

I myself being an economist at the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) am excited as both a producer and user of public data to attend the APDU Annual Conference.  As a producer of public data I am eagerly looking forward to discussions about the pros and cons of using differential privacy with public data as well as the use of machine learning and algorithms with public data.  I want to hear an update about the latest information on the federal statistical agency reorganization proposed by the administration. I am looking forward for the opportunity to meet users of BEA data.

As a user of public data I am excited to hear the latest developments with regard to data from colleagues at the U.S Census Bureau, U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, and the Kentucky Center for Statistics.  I am looking forward to learning how public data is being used to inform decision making from speakers from Georgetown University, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, the University of Alabama Institute for Rural Health Research, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and more. Finally, I am especially thrilled by the opportunity to hear from statistical agency leadership including, the Directors of both the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

I look forward to seeing you at the 2019 APDU Annual Conference.

APDU Conference: Find New Data on Children

Data, in its many iterations, is essential material for public and private decision making.  Data helps us interpret the past, chart a course for the future, and/or direct areas for discovery – all in the service of facilitating the decision-making process. The problem with data is it is unruly:  it can be in different forms with different biases; it can be everywhere and nowhere, scattered about with varying degrees of organization and purpose; it can be overwhelming as there is so much of it from so many sources.  Learning to navigate all this data by providing order to it is no easy feat. But when done well the payoff is at least two-fold: (1) decision makers are armed with a valuable tool to make better decisions; and (2) others wrestling with unruly data problems of their own have a possible blue print to bring order to their data.

Take the issue of the well-being of our children, their health, their education: are we being successful in providing the environment for our children to succeed? The answer to this question is something we take great interest in at all levels of society (family, neighborhood, locally, regionally, and nationally).  Fortunately, there is no shortage of data to provide us with insight as to our successes with children or identifying areas where we are falling short.  The trick lies in bringing order to all that unruly data – identifying all the relevant data, bringing order to it, and making it easily accessible – so that we can use it as a powerful tool to inform our decision making.

Imagine a website that brought together data from 35 public data sources with 600 measures of child health and well-being encompassing:

  • Child Safety
  • Children with Special Health Care Needs
  • Demographics
  • Education and Child Care
  • Emotional and Behavioral Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Family Economics
  • Physical Health

This website exists!

Join us in Arlington, Va. July 17th & 18th, 2018 at APDU’s annual conference to learn more about navigating the public data around us by learning how was pulled together and how it has been used to inform decision making around children’s issues in the state of California.