All posts by wcook

Overview of the Current Population Survey

Where does the national unemployment rate come from? This presentation will answer that question and others, and will provide information on how this household survey is designed, fielded, and collected, and on the many demographic data series available from the survey on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Megan Dunn, Economist, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Overview of the Current Employment Statistics Survey

Where does total nonfarm employment come from? This presentation will answer that question and will provide information on how this very large establishment survey is designed, fielded, and collected, and on the industry and geographic data series available from the survey on the BLS website.

Angie Clinton, Supervisory Economist, Bureau of Labor Statistics

2016 Annual Conference

At this year’s APDU annual conference, you have a unique opportunity to directly influence how federal statistics are gathered, produced, and shared. Learn from experts. Engage with leaders. Collaborate with peers to make a difference. Join us on September 13-14 in Alexandria, VA.

Roles of SSA’s Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics

The Social Security Administration’s Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics (SSA, ORES) is a multifaceted organization that develops a variety of data, research, and tools related to this long-standing American institution. In this webinar, staff will provide a visual walkthrough of the ORES website and explain the following research and statistical lines of business:

  1. Angela Harper will provide an overview of the ORES published statistics program;
  2. Paul Davies will provide an overview of the ORES research program; and
  3. Marc Sinofsky will provide an overview of the ORES research and statistical data linkage program.

Angela Harper, Social Science Research Analyst, Social Security Administration
Paul Davies, Senior Advisor, Social Security Administration
Marc Sinofsky, Senior Advisor, Social Security Administration

The 2020 Census: A New Design for the 21st Century

The U.S. Census Bureau is researching modern and cost-efficient methods for the population to exercise its civic obligation to be counted in the 2020 Census. Whether through the Internet, telephone or traditional paper questionnaires, the Census Bureau is committed to making the mandatory once-a-decade headcount quick, easy and safe for all to participate. This presentation will provide an overview of the current plans for the 2020 Census and where the Census Bureau is headed in the next few years.

Deirdre Dalpiaz Bishop, Chief, Decennial Census Management Division, U.S. Census Bureau

Scaling the Mountain: Creating a Government-Wide Web Analytics Program, and Then Taking it Public

In 3.5 short years of existence, the Government Services Administration’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP) has grown from zero to 4,000+ websites participating in an aggregated web analytics program that seeks to show a birds-eye view of public interaction with the federal digital space. With 45 agencies currently part of the program, the combined website traffic totals over 1.5 billion pageviews monthly, and the small-but-mighty DAP team trains, troubleshoots, and provides support to over 2,000 users.

Best of all, in March 2015, the DAP program teamed up with the US Digital Service, 18F, and the US CTO’s office to launch, which offers public data from the program. The new transparency allows members of the public and industry to view and use the federal government’s web analytics data for their own insights and analysis. In this webinar, attendees will learn how the federal government is using data from the Digital Analytics Program to improve the public’s experience with its websites, as well as how any member of the public can use the data on to better understand trends and technology.

Timothy Lowden, Acting Program Manager, General Services Administration

Supporting the Census & ACS: A Toolkit for Coalition-Building

The 2020 Census and American Community Survey (ACS) face significant challenges in Congress, and data users outside of the nation’s capital often ask if there’s anything they can do to support these seminal Census Bureau programs. In fact, state and local voices have a great deal of credibility and influence with members of Congress and can play a key role in educating lawmakers about the importance of census and ACS data and the benefits to communities “back home.”

The Census Project, a diverse coalition of census and ACS stakeholders spanning virtually every economic and social sector, has produced a Toolkit to help state and local organizations build coalitions in support of an accurate census and comprehensive, reliable ACS. The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is partnering with The Census Project to unveil and explain the toolkit through this webinar.


  • Warren Brown, President, APDU


  • Census Project Overview
    Phil Sparks, Co-Director, The Census Project
  • Presentation: “Supporting the Census and ACS: A Toolkit for Coalition-Building”
    Joan Naymark, Executive Director, MACS – Minnesotans for the American Community Survey

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS): Survey Design, Data Access, and Its Utility in Assessing the Impact of the Changes

Changes in the health care system, in population composition, and in risk factors have increased the need for data to identify and address health issues and to guide public health and health care policy and programs. Participants will learn about the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), one of the major household surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. In recent years, the NHIS has been enhanced to capture data for emerging issues in population health and health care. Content will include how the NHIS is conducted, what data are available, how to access these data, what publications feature these data, and how it has been used to monitor the effects of recent changes in the health care system.

Stephen J. Blumberg, Associate Director for Science, National Center for Health Statistics
Colleen N. Nugent, Survey Statistician, National Center for Health Statistics

Intermediate Application of Data Sets: Understanding & Using Data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education, collects data on more than 7300 postsecondary institutions annually via the Integrated Postsecondary Educations Data System (IPEDS) data collection. These data are accessible to the public through the IPEDS ‘Use the Data’ portal. The first part of the webinar will discuss the IPEDS survey universe, data collection cycle, and data availability, as well as the major IPEDS components and considerations that should be made when using data from each component.

The second part of the webinar will describe the options and processes for accessing IPEDS data, including a discussion of shortcuts, tips, common research questions, and how you can get more help learning about IPEDS or retrieving IPEDS data.

Samuel Barbett, Team Lead IPEDS Data Quality, National Center for Education Statistics
Tara Lawley, Team Lead IPEDS Operations, National Center for Education Statistics

Special Topics and Emerging Issues in Public Data: Household Surveys in Crisis

Household surveys, one of the main innovations in social science research of the last century, are threatened by declining accuracy due to reduced cooperation of respondents. While many indicators of survey quality have steadily declined in recent decades, the literature has largely emphasized rising nonresponse rates rather than other potentially more important dimensions to the problem. Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago divides the problem into rising rates of nonresponse, imputation, and measurement error, documenting the rise in each of these threats to survey quality over the past three decades.

A fundamental problem in assessing biases due to these problems in surveys is the lack of a benchmark or measure of truth, leading us to focus on the accuracy of the reporting of government transfers. Dr. Meyer will provide evidence from aggregate measures of transfer reporting as well as linked microdata; discuss the relative importance of misreporting of program receipt and conditional amounts of benefits received, as well as some of the conjectured reasons for declining cooperation and survey errors; and end by discussing ways to reduce the impact of the problem including the increased use of administrative data and the possibilities for combining administrative and survey data.

Bruce D. Meyer, McCormick Foundation Professor, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy