Category Archives: Blog

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APDU Board Member: Why Do We Attend the APDU Conference? Our Business Depends on It.

By: Elizabeth Nash, APDU Board Member

Although many APDU Conference attendees show up to share information about their government agencies’ data products, private companies like PolicyMap have a compelling business reason to attend:  it’s the easiest, most reliable way to learn about what’s in store for data, and data is our lifeblood.

As a board member of APDU, each year I get to put together a session at the conference.  This year, I’m responsible for the first day’s keynote on the Census Bureau’s challenge of balancing privacy and reliability.  I had heard about the so-called “differential privacy” solution to privacy concerns in Census products, but I was eager to learn more—particularly about how privacy concerns will affect the quality of the data products we rely on so heavily at PolicyMap.  We’ll get a chance to hear about the changes in store for Census 2020, the American Community Survey, and other data products.  We’ll also get a glimpse of the implications of those decisions for Census data users down the road.

After the keynote, I’m looking forward to an animated lunchtime roundtable and conversation about the subject, hearing reactions from data users and Census employees on these changes.

Join us on July 9th and 10th in Arlington, VA at the APDU Annual Conference to hear the latest updates from public data providers and users.

 

APDU Board Member: Stay updated on happenings on the Hill

By APDU Board Member Mary Jo Hoeksema

The 2019 Association of Public Data Users (APDU) Annual Conference, “Wide World of Data,” will be the place to be July 9-10!  The meeting will not only offer attendees cutting edge information about advances affecting public data collection, dissemination, and application, but also will provide them with insights into the politics and policies affecting federal statistical agencies and surveys.

The Washington Briefing panel scheduled for July 10 at 9:00 a.m. will be especially informative. A bipartisan panel comprised of three senior congressional staffers from the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will discuss the latest developments on Capitol Hill affecting key federal statistical agencies. Mr. Allen Cutler, Professional Staff Member (Majority), U.S. Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, will share news regarding funding for the Census Bureau and 2020 Census in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.  Mr. Trelaine Ito, Legislative Assistant, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), will discuss the senator’s interests in 2020 Census operations, the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census, and federal data security policy. Ms. Leticia Mederos, Chief of Staff, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who chairs the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, will address how agencies. including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, and National Center for Education Statistics, are faring in the FY 2020 appropriations process.  All three panelists will answer questions and offer suggestions about how public data users can be effective advocates for federal statistical agencies and surveys.

Make your plans now to register and attend the 2019 APDU annual meeting! Take advantage of this unique opportunity to hear firsthand from influential policymakers who are working behind-the-scenes to ensure Congress considers the needs and challenges facing a wide range of federal statistical agencies.

APDU Board Member: Learn about new data sources at the APDU Annual Conference

By APDU Board Member Beth Jarosz

If you ask a data user to name public data sources, she might name the decennial census, American Community Survey, National Vital Statistics System, or Current Population Survey. Each of those sources provides robust, timely, accurate public data on important topics like population, housing, and employment. Yet the “big name” public data sources merely hint at the breadth and depth of data available, which includes information on consumer expenditures, healthcare access and utilization, and participation in the arts.

Do you know what share of the American public attends jazz concerts or reads poetry? Attendees will learn about trends in arts and leisure activities from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, which tracks arts attendance by detailed event type and state.

Do you know that the Consumer Expenditures Survey is one of the nation’s most complex surveys (by number of variables)? The Consumer Expenditures Survey captures a range of expenditures, incomes, and demographic characteristics. Attendees will learn about what types of questions can, and cannot, be answered with this dataset as well was the geographic detail currently available.

Did you know that the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey now includes a de-identified public use file? With the public use file analysts can answer questions about Medicare beneficiary insurance status, socio-demographic characteristics, access to care, health status, preventive behaviors, falls, housing characteristics, and experiences with Medicare Advantage.

Join us in Arlington, Va. July 9th and 10th, 2019 at APDU’s Annual Conference to learn more about these, and other, under-the-radar public data sources.

APDU Board Member: Register for the conference today!

By APDU Board Member Sue Copella

Be sure to register for the 2019 APDU Annual Conference! The conference is being held at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, VA on July 9-10. The agenda is set and there are some very exciting speakers. Along with the ever popular Washington Briefing and Data Viz Awards, this year the conference has three main themes: the breath of public data, diverse uses of public data and strengthening and supporting the public data system.

I am also very excited to present this year on the panel discussing Best Ways to Access the Census Data You Need.  As the State Data Center for Pennsylvania I will be presenting on the National State Data Center program and how the states and territories serve the information needs by disseminating demographic and economic data to academic institutions, businesses, non-profits and private citizens.  For the session I will be partnering with the Census Bureau who will be talking about the new dissemination platform and the Federal Statistical Research Data Center.

While I have been a member of APDU for years, last year was the first time I was able to attend the conference since it was held during the summer.  It is a great place for both data users and producers of pubic data to meet and share information on what others are doing in the public data world.  So, if you haven’t had a chance to register, please do so today.

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 Data Viz Awards: Call for Visualizations

The Association of Public Data Users (APDU) is pleased to announce the 2019 Data Viz Awards. We are once 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.

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.
Winners will be invited to present at the 2019 APDU Annual Conference on July 10, 2019 in Arlington, VA. Winners in the “Researchers & Students” category will also receive a free APDU membership for 2019.

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 made publicly available between June 2018 and May 2019. We are accepting submissions that appeared in a published research paper or article either in print or on the web, in a public presentation, as a stand-alone infographic, as a website feature, and/or as another official product.

Deadline: Friday, May 17, 2019

Create your own user feedback survey

364 Days Until Census Day 2020!

APDU staff attended the Census 2020: Navigating the National and Local Challenges panel discussion hosted by the Brookings Institution to hear legal, demographic, and Census experts discuss a Decennial Census that has garnered interest both for its importance and for its controversies. Primary questions from the meeting revolved implications of including the citizenship question in the Decennial Census, cybersecurity, and how to encourage residents to respond.

Former Census Bureau Director John Thompson noted that there is “no basis for the citizenship question” and that agency research indicates that it will decrease the response rate. Brookings Senior Fellow William Frey supported Thompson’s statements by emphasizing the importance of gathering this community data and the impacts it will have on communities’ federal funding, private grant dollars, and resources to serve the right population.

Thompson shared that the Census Bureau was underfunded from 2012 – 2017, so the Bureau prioritized shifting from the traditional paper collection to an automated and online process. He noted the Bureau is constantly working on improving cybersecurity and is committed to keeping residents’ responses safe and confidential.

The second panel facilitated by the National League of Cities’ CEO Clarence Anthony focused on the implications and efforts at the local level to ensure the best data possible is collected. Beth Link, the Director of Census Counts, encouraged communities to educate their elected officials and noted that there will be questionnaire assistance centers to help make the necessary technology accessible to communities where it’s needed and to help answer questions as residents complete the forms.

APDU will continue to monitor 2020 Census preparations and will serve as a resource to our members moving forward. To learn more and hear directly from Census Bureau leadership, join us at the APDU Annual Conference in Arlington, VA on July 9-10, 2019.

Resources shared during the discussion include:

Recordings of the Panels can be found below.

2019 Annual Conference Call for Proposals

2019 APDU Annual Conference

July 9-10, 2019

Arlington, VA

“Wide World of Data”

Breadth of public data

Diverse uses of government data

Strengthening & supporting the public data system

EXTENDED DEADLINE: February 11, 2019

The 2019 APDU Annual Conference is welcoming APDU members and friends to join with our theme of “Wide World of Data” by submitting a proposals for presentations or panels related to public data. The conference, to be held in Arlington, VA on July 9-10, 2019, brings together data users and data producers for conversations and presentations on a wide variety of data and statistical topics, including but not limited to:

  • Data collection, production, and delivery
  • Emerging data issues
  • New data sources and tools
  • Relevant data dissemination technologies
  • Statistical policy

We are inviting proposals on any topic relating to public data, whether based on a particular project, data practice, or formal paper.  In keeping with the theme of the conference, our interest is in highlighting the breadth of public data to both producers and consumers of public data.  We are interested in presentations focused on the past, present, and future of public data such as:

  • Past uses of public data
  • Present/new uses of public data
  • Future of public data – what would consumers of data like to be able to do that they currently cannot do
  • Current availability of public data (health, education, the economy, energy, the environment, climate, and other areas)
  • New developments in public data
    • Newly available data
    • Significant changes/improvements to data
    • New data tools for dissemination, analytics, data visualization, clean-up of data, and user feedback
  • Public data as an input to other public data
  • Administrative data
  • Data privacy – differential privacy vs data suppression
  • Reorganization proposal to combine Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Reorganization proposals for Economic Research Service and Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • Advancements in state/local data programs

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.

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).

You must be a member of APDU to submit a proposal, whether a single presentation or a panel. For panel submissions, not all panelists need to be members at the time of submission.  All accepted presenters must register for the conference. Current members will be assessed the discounted membership rate. For presenters who are not currently members, full conference registration will come with a free APDU membership.

We will be accepting proposals until February 11, 2019 (deadline extended due to Federal shutdown). Proposers will be notified of our decision by February 28, 2019. Contact Brendan Buff at bbuff@crec.net if you have any questions.   

We look forward to hearing from you!

Create your own user feedback survey

APDU Election Results

APDU is pleased to announce the results of the elections for our Board of Directors. Our new Officers and At-Large Directors include:

President: Kevin McAvey, Senior Manager, Manatt Health

Vice President: Mary Jo Hoeksema, Director of Government Affairs, Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers

At-Large Director: Susan Copella, Director, Pennsylvania State Data Center (PaSDC), Institute of State and Regional Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg

At-Large Director: Beth Jarosz, Senior Research Associate, Population Reference Bureau

Join us in giving a warm welcome to our new members. Congratulations!