All posts by Warren Brown

APDU Past President

APDU Conference: “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”

I am confident that all of you have heard this phrase in association with wedding ceremonies and how the brides prepare for the big event. Well, do you know why this is also an appropriate description for our big event, the APDU Annual Conference, to be held July 17-18, 2018?

A recurring theme throughout the agenda for this summer’s conference is the use of shared data from administrative records and surveys that are integrated in ways to create new and more informative data products for decision making. There are eight sessions focused on this issue and how the linking of administrative records and surveys is being prescribed and executed by federal, state, local and private organizations.

So how does the integration of administrative records and surveys by producers of public data relate to bridal preparations? First, this is not that new a process. Demographers have long combined data from birth and death certificates with census data to estimate fertility, mortality and migration rates. So that is the “Old” element which stands for continuity with the past. The “New” is meant to stand for optimism for the future. The “New” technical developments in record matching are greatly increasing the ability to link individual records from independent sources. However with this increased power have come concerns about privacy issues and maintaining public trust. “Something borrowed” because sharing increases the value of each of the items that are being shared. This requires overcoming legal barriers and institutional boundaries to reap the harvest of shared data. Finally, “something blue” stands for purity in the marriage ceremony. For the production of public data to assist policy making, it means that the integration of administrative records and survey data promise to compensate for the statistical weaknesses of each. The promise of more accurate data that are more representative, reliable and detailed.

I encourage you to accept our invitation to APDU’s Annual Conference, “Shaping The Future: The Promise Of Public Data To Inform Decisions.” Be a part of these exciting developments. Perhaps even bring along a bit of rice or bird seed to toss into the air as we celebrate these developments for public data.

APDU Conference: Learn about upcoming Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission

There are less than 2 months until our Annual Conference and the timeliness of our topics, sessions and keynote speakers could not be any more on target! The Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking is convening their first meeting on July 22. The bipartisan Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-140) jointly sponsored by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and signed by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2016 is a dream come true for the Public Data User community. The announcement of the Commission’s first public meeting states they are “charged with examining aspects of how to increase the availability and use of data in order to build evidence about government programs, while protecting privacy and confidentiality.”

Katherine Wallman, Chief Statistician, United States Office of Management and Budget, is our Keynote speaker on Day 1 of the APDU Conference, September 13, and will use our conference theme “Using Public Data to Inform Better Decision Making” to provide insights into the work of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking and their impact on the use of public data for the broader user community.

Be certain to register for the APDU Annual Conference and learn from those who are shaping our nation’s statistical policies to address critical areas of decision making.


-Warren A. Brown, President of APDU
Cornell University

Opportunities to Provide Input Regarding the Proposed Elimination of ACS 3-Year Data Products

By Warren A. Brown, President, APDU

In the Census Bureau publication Budget Estimates, Fiscal Year 2016, As Presented to Congress, February 2015 the Bureau proposed “to terminate permanently the ‘3-Year Data’ Product” of the American Community Survey (page CEN – 106). Many data users have come to rely on the 3-Year ACS data products for their analyses and decision-making. The State Data Center Steering Committee followed up with the Census Bureau, and are recommending that persons wishing to comment on the proposal contact James Treat, Chief, American Community Survey Office. The advice is to be specific as to how elimination of the 3-Year ACS data products will impact their community or work. Mr. Treat’s email address is

Terri Ann Lowenthal in her February 10 blog for The Census Project concerning the President’s Budget Request for FY 2016, noted that regarding the Census Bureau, “Congress cut $124 million from its budget request for the current year (FY 2015); [in response] the agency shaved $100 million of that amount from census planning and another $15 million from the ACS.” Eliminating the ACS 3-Year data products is part of the plan to absorb the cuts. Terri Ann points out that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has to approve the spending plan and that provides another opportunity for users of the ACS 3-Year data products to express how these cuts will impact them. Katherine K. Wallman is the Chief Statistician of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Ms. Wallman’s email address is