Category Archives: Announcement

 Federal Agency Leaders Provide Insights at the APDU Annual Conference

The 2021 APDU Annual Conference closed with a panel of federal statistical agency leaders including Dr. Ron Jarmin, Acting Director and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Census Bureau; Dr. William Beach, Commissioner at U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Dr. Mary Bohman, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis; and Dr. Mark Schneider, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences. The panel gathered virtually on July 29, 2021, to discuss the challenges of providing trustworthy, accurate, and timely federal statistical data to the public within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic recovery.

U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau will not release its standard 1-year estimates from the 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) because of data collection issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, the Census Bureau only collected two-thirds of the responses it typically collects and received less responses from individuals with lower income, lower educational attainment, and those less likely to own their home. The result of these data collection issues resulted in a “nonresponse bias” that failed to meet the Census Bureau’s Statistical Data Quality Standards, the agency guidelines designed to ensure the integrity of the statistical information produced by the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau instead will release experimental estimates developed from 2020 ACS 1-year data.

President Biden’s administration proposed a U.S. Census Bureau budget of $1.5 billion for the fiscal year ending 2022. Dr. Jarmin remarked the proposed budget for FY 2022 was lower than the FY 2021 and FY 2020 budget, but that the Census Bureau was pleased overall with the President’s proposed spending plan.

The Census Bureau, according to Dr. Jarmin, is working on a “process transformation,” prioritizing bringing the Census Bureau into the 21st century by providing timely, accurate, and granular data for all data users. Dr. Jarmin noted the Census Bureau is committed to making, “data more usable for users.” Historically, Dr. Jarmin noted, federal data users have largely been governments. But increasingly, federal data users consist of academics as well as regular citizens. Dr. Jarmin emphasized the Census Bureau’s upcoming priorities will be focused on providing data products for a diverse range of users across backgrounds and levels of data sophistication. For example, The Census Bureau offers the Veterans Employment Outcome data product, where veterans and their families can evaluate the data and make evidence-based career decisions after leaving the military, to maximize their employment outcomes and earnings post-military service.

Other upcoming Census Bureau developments include the August release of demographic characteristics from the 2020 Census. Though the Census Bureau is several months behind its original timeline, Dr. Jarmin reassured audience members that despite challenges arising from COVID-19, the Bureau was able to collect a complete and accurate census count.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee agreed to increase the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ budget by $7.7 million for FY 2022. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics budget priorities, according to Dr. Beach, include evaluating how to upgrade the consumer price index and cost of living index to provide data at greater frequency, restoring statistical capacity by hiring more personnel, and evaluating changes in the retail industry. The Bureau will also begin a new cohort of Longitudinal Study of American Youth for those born around 2010, which is particularly vital for evaluating the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on America’s youth.

U.S. Institute of Education Sciences

The major agency goal of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), according to Dr. Schneider, is to modernize the way in which IES conducts its work. Dr. Scneider recognized that education research is time consuming and challenging, and so IES is focused on “failing faster,” to learn from unsuccessful research and prioritize research replication when the work is successful. Like the other statistical federal agencies, IES is also focused on providing relevant, accessible, and intuitive data products and reports that are easy to understand and use by data users of all backgrounds. IES is focused on providing research that is useful and convenient to practitioners, academics, the public, and governments. To that end, IES is now requiring grantees to submit “dissemination plans,” a formal agreement that research conducted with IES data will be disseminated to a wide audience or to policymakers, rather than being exclusively published in a potentially inaccessible academic journal. IES is also prioritizing “audience segmentation studies” to tailor work according to specific audiences who utilize IES research and working to provide effective data visualization. “Data visualization is only useful within the context of the audience,” remarked Dr. Schneider.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, according to Dr. Mary Bohman, is focused on providing timely, transparent, and innovative data. Innovations taking place at the Bureau include an improved methodology for measuring personal consumption expenditures for housing services on tenant and owner-occupied housing for the period of 2002-2022, as part of the upcoming annual update of the National Income and Product Accounts. There are also forthcoming improvements to provide more state-level data on consumer spending and data on personal consumption and real personal income in metropolitan areas by state.

Dr. Bohman noted the Bureau’s budget is in good shape for FY 2021 and will receive a $14 million increase for FY 2022. Part of the budget increase is for the implementation of the Evidence Act, a 2019 federal law which, “emphasizes collaboration and coordination to advance data and evidence-building functions in the Federal Government by statutorily mandating Federal evidence-building activities, open government data, and confidential information protection and statistical efficiency,” according to a federal memorandum by the Office of Management and Budget.

Overall, Dr. Jarmin, Dr. Beach, Dr. Bohman, and Dr. Schneider emphasized their agency’s dedication to providing and disseminating accurate, relevant, accessible, and timely data. The COVID-19 pandemic presented administrative and logistical challenges for each agency, but most federal partners noted they were pleased with the performance of their respective agencies during the pandemic and feel confident in the resiliency of their departments during times of emergency and stress. Each federal partner noted they are looking to the future to provide transparent and relevant data products for data users of all backgrounds and abilities.

What I wish I knew when I started: What is the federal statistical system?

By: APDU Board Member Beth Jarosz, Population Reference Bureau

It’s been more than two decades since I first looked up population characteristics in the (now defunct) Statistical Abstract of the United States, unemployment rate data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and gross product data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Since then I’ve learned (most of) the alphabet soup of U.S. surveys and statistics.

But what I wish I knew earlier is how the agencies are interrelated and how many ways there are for data users to keep up onand sometimes influencethe changes in the data systems we rely on.

What is the federal statistical system?

The U.S. federal statistical system is decentralized and includes many agencies, of which there are 13 principal statistical agencies:

In addition to those 13, there are more than 90 other agencies with data collection and statistical functions throughout the federal government.

This decentralized system is coordinated through the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). OIRA’s Statistical and Science Policy (SSP) Office establishes policies and standards, identifies priorities, evaluates agency budgets, reviews and approves information collection involving statistical methods, and more. In practice, OMB is involved in everything from setting standards for the collection and reporting of racial/ethnic information to guiding data sharing across the system.

The relationship between OMB and the federal statistical system is often depicted like the sun, with 13 rays (the agencies) radiating out from the center (OIRA and the Chief Statistician). But I think that imagery fails to capture the relationship between the agencies, which can share data and partner on projects. As just one example, the Household Pulse Surveyestablished to monitor conditions during the pandemicwas a collaborative effort across multiple agencies (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Census Bureau, National Center for Education Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Social Security Administration, USDA Economic Research Service, and others). 

Why does this matter?

While the Pulse surveys were a clear success, the decentralized system means that data sharing between agencies is not always so smooth. Getting data sharing frameworks (from legislative authorization to IT security systems) in place can be a years- or decades-long process (as it was for IRS data sharing with the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau).

Data user community support and recommendations can help shape the policies, standards, budgets, and practices that guide work across the federal statistical system. Users can provide input through sign-on letters, responses to Federal Register notices, comment during meetings, and more.

How can I stay up-to-date on the federal statistical system?

You may rely heavily on one type of data, such as education data, health statistics, or income. And there are data user communities, advisory committees, and information-sharing networks specific to each topic and agency. However, there are only a few places to keep track of changes across the entirety of the federal statistical system.

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2021 APDU Data Viz Awards: Call for Visualizations

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is pleased to announce the 2021 Data Viz Awards. After a hiatus due to pandemic disruptions, we are again soliciting creative and meaningful graphic designs that use publicly-available data (for example, data from the Census Bureau or Bureau of Labor Statistics) to convey a compelling point or story.

APDU is particularly interested data visualizations relevant to issues of 2021, such as:

  • Public health and COVID-19
  • Racial equity
  • Public engagement

About the Award

APDU started the Data Viz Awards in response to our members’ growing need to communicate their data and research to a variety of audiences using graphic technologies and cutting-edge techniques. APDU hopes to engage data users and help them understand and share data for analysis and decision making.

Nominees selected by an impartial expert committee from each category (listed below) will be invited to share their visualizations  on the first day of the  2021 APDU Annual Conference: July 26, 2021, held virtually through Whova. Conference attendees will then vote on winners from each category using the Whova platform.

Winners in the “Researchers & Students” category will also receive a free APDU membership for 2021.

What We’re Looking For

APDU will select creative and compelling images in four categories:

  • State/Local government, including independent and quasi-independent agencies;
  • Federal government, including independent and quasi-independent agencies;
  • Private firms, which can include consultancies, advocacy groups, or any other private firms using public data; and
  • Researchers/Students, which can include any visuals published or formally presented by researchers or students in higher education, think tanks, research organizations, nonprofits, or similar.

Submissions must have been created after January 1, 2021.  All visualizations nominated for presentation at the Annual Conference will be eligible for the award provided that nominees register for the conference.

Deadline: Friday, May 28, 2021

Create your own user feedback survey

2021 Annual Conference

 

AGENDA                 |            REGISTRATION

With economic, public health, and governance challenges arising from COVID-19 and political polarization, trustworthy public data is vital to open and honest policy debates. Federal statistical data is used to understand the shifting American landscape, helping make sense of the new normal at work, in our communities, in governance – the list goes on. With trust in institutions waning among some, accurate public data can help restore trust and encourage cooperation.

Register today for the APDU Virtual Annual Conference to be a part of this important discussion. APDU is where users, producers, and disseminators of government statistical data come together to learn of changes in public data, provide feedback to statistical agencies, and share best practices in the use of data.

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Data Is vs. Data Are: Settling the Debate

By Bernie Langer, APDU Board Member

There are many debates in the world of public data. Privacy vs. accuracy. Survey data vs. administrative data. CSV vs. XLS. But if you really want to see data nerds fight, ask them whether they say “data is” or “data are”. Is the word “data” singular or plural?

“Good data is important to good decision-making” or “Good data are important to good decision-making”?

This came up on Twitter recently, when NPR reporter/Census superfan Hansi Lo Wang tweeted: “…The 2020 census redistricting data, needed to redraw voting maps, is now expected by Sept. 30…” In his next tweet, he wrote: “(Sorry for 1st tweet’s typo: *data are)”.

It may seem trivial, but it’s important, and not for the reason you expect.

The argument for “data are” is thus: “Data” is derived from the Latin word datum, meaning, “that which is given.” In Latin, datum is a singular neuter noun. My high school Latin teacher made sure I never forget The Neuter Law: all neuter nouns (in the nominative and accusative cases) always end in -a. Therefor, the plural form of datum is data. Data is plural. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Furthermore, we know data to be a collection of individual values (observations, survey responses, etc.). A census never has only one respondent (unless it’s a very sad census). The concept is inherently plural.

The argument for “data is” is simple: “Data are” sounds ridiculous.

Okay, there are some more nuanced arguments for “data is.” We’re speaking English, not Latin. Language evolves. “Data” in common usage is an uncountable noun, like “water.” The ocean is full of water, but no one says, “Water are wet.”

But that’s secondary. What’s more important is: “Data are” sounds ridiculous.

As data professionals, we need to communicate with the rest of the world in a clear and accessible way. We want others to embrace the power of data, knowing that data can be useful to them. No one needs to be special to use data.

Insisting on treating data as a plural noun can be alienating. (Pro tip: Correcting someone’s grammar in any circumstance is alienating.) We don’t want anyone to think they’re not good enough to use data. Even if it’s not off-putting, it’s distracting. The general public doesn’t expect to hear “data are,” and when they do hear it, they’ll momentarily dwell on it, and not the substance of what was left in your sentence.

Of course, this isn’t just about grammar and the word “data.” It’s about not gatekeeping, and communicating complex (but understandable) concepts to the public on their terms. When non-experts understand data, data professionals become more valuable, not less.

And if your conscience cannot permit you to use data in a singular form (old habits die hard), then at the very least, when someone else does, bite your tongue.

A common refrain is “The plural of anecdote is not data.” Let’s reinforce that by not using data as a plural.

This blog post represents the views of its author and does not represent the view of APDU or the Board of Directors.

2021 APDU Conference Call for Proposals

Public Data: Making Sense of the New Normal

APDU is welcoming proposals on “making sense of the new normal” using public data. With economic, public health, and governance challenges arising from COVID-19 and political polarization, trustworthy public data is vital to open and honest policy debates. APDU is interested in proposals regarding:

  • Novel uses of public data to understand the shifting American landscape;
  • Ways that researchers and advocates are ensuring that public data is accurate and equitable;
  • How public data can help restore trust in institutions;
  • How to rebuild trust in public data; or
  • Other related and relevant topics.

Proposals can be for a single presentation or panel, whether based on a particular project, data practice, or formal paper. You may submit ideas for a single presentation or a full panel (three presenters, plus a moderator). However, it is possible that we will accept portions of panel submissions to combine with other presenters. Submissions will be evaluated on the quality of work, relevance to APDU Conference attendees, uniqueness of topic and presenter, and thematic fit.

EXTENDED Deadline: March 26, 2021

Please submit your proposal using the Survey Monkey collection window below.  Proposals will need to be submitted by members of APDU, and all presenters in a panel must register for the conference (full conference registration comes with a free APDU membership).  Proposers will be notified of our decision by mid-April.

About APDU

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is a national network that links users, producers, and disseminators of government statistical data. APDU members share a vital concern about the collection, dissemination, preservation, and interpretation of public data.  The conference will be held virtually on July 26-29, 2021, and brings together data users and data producers for conversations and presentations on a wide variety of data and statistical topics.

Create your own user feedback survey

2020 APDU Candidate Statements

Candidate for President: Mary Jo Hoeksema

Since January 2004, Mary Jo Hoeksema has been the Director of Government Affairs for the Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers. In addition to representing PAA and APC, Ms. Hoeksema has co-directed The Census Project since 2008.  Prior to her position with PAA/APC, Ms. Hoeksema worked at the National Institutes of Health for approximately 10 years, as the Legislative Officer at the National Institute on Aging and as the Special Assistant to the Director of the NIH Office of Policy of Extramural Research Administration.  Ms. Hoeksema served as a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.  Ms. Hoeksema moved to Washington, DC from her home state of New Mexico to work at the Council for a Livable World as a 1990 Scoville Fellow.

Ms. Hoeksema has a Master of Public Administration from the George Washington University and is a former Presidential Management Fellow. She also has a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of New Mexico.

Candidate Statement

I was introduced to APDU shortly after arriving at the Population Association of America (PAA). I was immediately drawn to the organization given its mission and the fellowship that I found with its members. I discovered that the annual meeting was a unique opportunity to meet data users outside of academia–especially those from federal, state, and local governments–and learn firsthand what issues were affecting their access to timely and accurate data.

I have served on the APDU board, as a member and previously as Vice President, for approximately four years. During this time, I’ve been involved in several initiatives, including revising the organization’s strategic plan, advising APDU’s advocacy agenda, and co-chairing the annual meeting. These experiences, combined with my frequent interactions with APDU members, has given me insight into the organization’s strengths and challenges. If elected president, I would build upon the work APDU has initiated to:

  • Increase APDU’s membership, particularly among young professionals entering the field;
  • Enhance the organization’s visibility inside and outside of the data user community;
  • Improve APDU’s education and training opportunities;
  • Strengthen communication with APUD members; and,
  • Seek opportunities to collaborate with similar organizations to advance the interests of the diverse data users APDU represents.

If elected president I will always be open to hearing ideas and discussing issues with members.

Candidate for Vice President: Amy O’Hara, Research Professor, Georgetown University

Amy O’Hara is a Research Professor in the Massive Data Institute and Executive Director of the Federal Statistical Research Data Center at the McCourt School for Public Policy. She also leads the Administrative Data Research Initiative, improving secure, responsible data access for research and evaluation. Her research focuses on population measurement, data quality, and record linkage. O’Hara has published on topics including the measurement of income, longitudinal linkages to measure economic mobility, and the data infrastructure necessary to support government and academic research.

Prior to joining Georgetown, O’Hara was a senior executive at the U.S. Census Bureau where she founded their administrative data curation and research unit. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

Candidate Statement

Last year, I wanted to serve on the APDU board to improve data access and quality for members, researchers, and program administrators. This year has revealed the cracks in our measurement infrastructure and the dire need to explain and inform our decision makers.  2020 has been rough on everyone, but especially on institutions like CDC and the Census Bureau.  The impact of the pandemic continues to evolve in state and local governments, who face rising infection rates, battered economies, volatile budgets, and a great deal of uncertainty.  Data will not solve these problems, but none of these problems can be solved without data.

APDU can, and must, foster coordination between federal, state, and local data producers and data users.  For ADPU, I will work towards establishing standards and norms for secure and responsible data use.  Our community needs to incorporate broader views of where data comes from and what it is needed for; emphasize data utility when designing privacy protections; and increase social license.

Candidate At-Large Director: Bernie Langer, Senior Data Analyst, Center for Court Innovation

Bernie Langer’s expertise in public data comes from his previous work at PolicyMap. Mr. Langer has a deep and broad knowledge about federal statistical agencies and private data providers, as well as experience working with data and data users to solve problems. He worked with data from the Census Bureau, BLS, IRS, SSA, HUD, USDA, FDIC, FBI, FCC, FEMA, DOT, NCES, EPA, SBA, and CDC, just to name a few. Mr. Langer also led PolicyMap’s “Mapchats” webinar series, a forum for data providers and users to discuss their work.

Mr. Langer’s current work at the Center for Court Innovation deals with a very different type of data, regarding New York City’s criminal justice system. In his role as a senior data analyst, Mr. Langer works with the organization’s Supervised Release Program, a pre-trial alternative to bail.

Candidate Statement

I am excited to continue serving on the APDU Board of Directors. In my last term, I served on the conference committee, which put together APDU’s first ever virtual conference. The conference was a success, virtually bringing together people working in data from across the country at a crucial point during the 2020 Census and Covid crisis.

I find APDU’s conferences, webinars, and newsletters invaluable. As a board member, I would continue my commitment to maintaining the high quality of APDU’s services and events, finding additional ways for data providers and users to interact, and raising the profile of public data in society.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Michelle Riordan-Nold, Executive Director, Connecticut Data Collaborative

Michelle Riordan-Nold has served as Executive Director of the Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData) since 2014. In her current role, Ms. Riordan-Nold leads CTData, whose mission seeks to democratize access to public data and build data literacy skills to increase data informed decision making in Connecticut. CTData is also the designated Census State Data Center for Connecticut. In addition, the organization holds monthly public data literacy workshops; creates maps and other visualization tools for community organizations to access and use data; and is building an integrated data system in Hartford. In 2020, the organization was the winner of the CT Entrepreneurial Award in Education.

Prior to leading CTData, Ms. Riordan-Nold worked as a research analyst for the CT Economic Resource Center and before that for the Connecticut Legislature in the Program Review and Investigations Committee. Ms. Riordan-Nold has a Bachelor degree in Mathematics from Boston College and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.

Candidate Statement

I have been both an attendee and a presenter at the APDU conferences for the past five years. It is great to be a part of a community that is working on improving public access to data and sharing new ways to access and improve its use. I am always amazed at the initiatives happening at the federal level and leave each conference with new ideas and data to share with the community of data users we serve in Connecticut.

If elected, I would be interested in finding ways to increase the membership to include more state level data users. Federal data is critical to much of the work at the state level and I see an opportunity for sharing and increasing the knowledge of both state and federal data users to help improve the work at all levels of government.

I also see an important role of the APDU in staying connected and informed about the evolving Disclosure Avoidance Policy implementation. I believe this should be at the forefront of all data discussions and was encouraged by the attention it received during this year’s conference. The APDU plays an important role in guiding the data user community on how to use the data but can also advocate to make sure the data is provided in such a way that it can be used for informed decision making at all levels of government. I would encourage the APDU to take a more active role in advocating for transparency around the implementation.

If elected, I hope to provide a state level perspective and contribute to the growth of the organization by helping to broaden the membership to include a more diverse group of data users.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Daniel Quigg, CEO, Public Insight Corporation

Dan Quigg is a serial entrepreneur focusing primarily on software analytics. Dan has served as CEO of Public Insight Data Corporation (Public Insight) since 2012, a business intelligence company that transforms public data into actionable insights with solutions in career and workforce development, staffing and recruiting, and higher education benchmarking. Public Insight leverages industry and government data in its self-service business intelligence applications such as Insight for Work and Insight for Higher Education.

Over his career of over thirty years Dan has founded or led eight early stage businesses. Dan is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and winner of the Smart Business Rising Star Award. He successfully sold three businesses, two to public technology firms where he took a senior executive position. He has also served on the adjunct entrepreneurship faculty of Kent State University and has served on multiple corporate boards. Dan has also served as an advisor for micro-economic development in developing countries, primarily Rwanda and Peru. He currently is on the National Council of the Valparaiso University College of Business.

Dan received his B.S. from Valparaiso University in 1981 and his CPA in 1983.  He received his MBA from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management in May 2007.  Dan was the inaugural winner of the Weatherhead Executive MBA Leadership Award as nominated by his peers.

Candidate Statement

I have always had a passion for data and am a self-described “data junkie”. I founded Public Insight in 2012 because I saw an asset in public data that was dramatically underutilized. Public Insight was built around that very concept.

I have been involved with APDU since starting Public Insight. I and my company have benefitted greatly from the research, webinars, and conferences. However, I feel that there is a large, untapped audience in the private sector that utilize public data and are not being reached by APDU. I see it every day. Should you decide to accept my candidacy into APDU, I would advocate for outreach to the private sector. Given my startup experience, I can add a lot of value in how to reach and extend APDU’s reach into the private sector.

I would advocate for more online education and training to the private sector. In the labor market particularly, there is a hunger for more information due to pandemic-induced volatility. I see courses like what is currently being offered through the Labor Market Institute (LMI) as a vehicle to reach a broader audience with minimal investment and risk.

My impressions of APDU suggest it is moving more and more to policy and advocacy. My interest is not in these areas nor do I add any value. I am a user of public data and want to see its value disseminated. This is where I can add value and where the mission is aligned with Public Insight.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Lori Turk-Bicakci, Ph.D., Director, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health

Lori Turk-Bicakci, Ph.D., is Director for Kidsdata, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. She promotes data-based decision making and action to improve children’s health and well-being, and she contributes to the quality, relevance, and utility of the data and content on kidsdata.org.  She oversees the process of collecting, preparing, and releasing data from more than 35 federal and state data sources. Before joining the Foundation, Dr. Turk-Bicakci was a senior researcher at American Institutes for Research. She has extensive experience with data collection, analysis, and reporting for education, social services, and other research projects that support children’s long-term health and development. Prior to her work in research, Dr. Turk-Bicakci was a middle school social studies teacher.

APDU Statement on Concerns Regarding the Census Field Operations Timeline

A statement from the APDU Board of Directors.

The 2020 Census will determine Congressional representation, and the data will form the foundation for the next decade of federal statistics. These data will provide guidance to the federal government on where to provide needed resources, and information to local governments on who lives in their states, cities, and towns.

Federal statistics also provide guidance to businesses on where their products and services are needed by consumers. Decisions on the spending of billions of dollars—public and private—will be made based on the next decade of federal statistics.

The 2020 Census forms the backbone of the next decade of federal statistics. It’s too important to rush.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation the Census Bureau has never had to deal with before. The national self-response rate is just above 60%; two out of five people in this country have yet to be counted. This is significantly below expected benchmarks. Despite the ongoing pandemic, census workers are beginning the process of going door to door to count everyone who hasn’t yet responded. This large-scale effort was slated to begin months ago, but was delayed by the pandemic.

Because of these circumstances, it’s necessary to extend the deadline for the Census Bureau to deliver its results. Census experts strongly believe that the Census Bureau needs extra time to conduct a complete and accurate count, as the Constitution requires.

This is a non-partisan issue that threatens businesses and governments in every part of the country. The Association of Public Data Users calls on Congress to extend the deadline for the 2020 Census to a timeframe that allows for a complete and accurate count.

APDU Past President: Why Attend the APDU Conference?

By Cliff Cook, Senior Planning Information Manager, City of Cambridge, Massaschusetts

In working with public data users often discover a shortfall between the way data would ideally be delivered and the form in which it actually arrives.  While the data we use is by definition only a partial reflection of the underlying reality, the ways in which we structure elements of the data collection, compilation and delivery systems all potentially to create further impediments to data access and usability.

The 2020 APDU conference will include a session dedicated to a discussion this important set of issues:  “Impediments to Accurate Statistics”.

We will hear from three experts in three different domains.

  • Elsa Schaffer, a Data Scientist from Ididio, will discuss her experience bringing together multiple sources of data that cover aspects of education, employment and income to develop data sets that help students and others with career choices.
  • Lavar Edwards, a Research Specialist from the Eviction Project, will talk about the myriad obstacles encountered in buiding a national database of rental housing eviction actions, a topic with significant implications for racial equity.
  • Abraham Flaxman, as Associate Professor from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, will delve into the world of public health statistics and explore his experience using data about the Covid-19 pandemic.

This session will focus on how various types of impediments prevent users from obtaining the full value of data, how data users deal with these roadblocks, and how the data user community should advocate for solutions.

APDU Launches 2020 Annual Conference

APDU is opening registration for the 2020 Annual Conference, set to be held at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, VA on July 29-30, 2020. Trending issues in the world of data – issues of privacy, accuracy, and access – are profoundly changing how we think about the collection, production, sharing, and use of data. Register for the APDU Annual Conference today to learn how the coronavirus is impacting public data and evidence-based policymaking. Attendees will also hear about outcomes from the decennial census and the privacy and public health issues that are impacting it in 2020.

We recognize the tentative nature of in-person events in these uncertain times, but we will continue to plan for the conference with the hopes of a return to normal. We are evaluating plans for a hybrid virtual conference to ensure that the conference will be delivered either live or online. Please know that cancellation fees will not apply to those who register early. In the case the conference cannot be held in-person it will transition to online, your registration will automatically transfer to the online content. If you don’t wish to attend online, we will provide a full refund on request. We will monitor these issues closely and be responsive to our members and partners.