Category Archives: 301

Addressing Under-Reporting of Young Children in Federal Statistical Programs

Federal statistical agencies such as the Census Bureau must continuously improve survey methodologies to accurately reflect the U.S. population. For example, in recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the under-reporting of young children in several federal statistical system activities. There is clear evidence that young children (age 0-4) have a higher net undercount rate than any other age group in the 2010 Census. There is also evidence that young children are under-reported in three major Census Bureau surveys (the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation) and in administrative records matched to the 2010 Census.

This webinar will first cover the data, or lack thereof, reflected in the statements above. Further, a representative from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget will discuss the implications of this data issue including activities underway to learn more about the issue and possible remedies for this problem. We expect to have ample time for questions and comments from the webinar participants.

Bill O’Hare, President, O’Hare Data and Demographic Services, LLC

Jennifer Park, Policy Analyst, Statistical and Science Policy Branch, Office of Management and Budget

A Closer Look at New Federal Survey Items on Certifications and Licenses

This APDU Public Data University Webinar will focus on federal surveys that now include new items on certifications and licenses. Over a 7-year period, the Interagency Working Group on Expanded Measures of Enrollment and Attainment (GEMEnA) developed and validated survey items on the prevalence and key characteristics of these non-degree credentials. Now a number of federal surveys of households and individuals have begun to collect data using the validated items, including the Current Population Survey and the National Survey of College Graduates. Taken together, these survey sources provide a comprehensive national picture of certifications and licenses.

Dr. Sharon Boivin, Chair of GEMEnA, will give an overview of the GEMEnA development process and then provide an in-depth look at item wording and analysis nuances for each survey. Dr. Jeff Strohl, Director of Research at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, will discuss the research questions that each survey is best poised to answer.

Sharon Boivin, Chair, Interagency Working Group on Expanded Measures of Enrollment and Attainment
Jeff Strohl, Director of Research, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

The Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking: The Commission and How You Can Get Involved

The Evidence-Based Policy Commission is the result of a bipartisan initiative authored by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). The commission brings together leading researchers and social scientists to conduct an inventory of the data the government collects and to determine the best methods for policymakers to make use of that information.

In this presentation, Deputy Executive Director Lucas Hitt will cover the who, what, and why of the Commission, providing an overview of how it will conduct its work and related timelines. He will also cover how the audience can provide input to the Commission.

Lucas Hitt, Deputy Executive Director, Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, Bureau of Economic Analysis

Evidence-Based Strategies for Creating an Open Data Impact

Despite global commitments to and increasing enthusiasm for open data, little is actually known about its use and impact. What kinds of social and economic transformation has open data brought about and what is its future potential? How—and under what circumstances—has it been most effective? How have open data practitioners mitigated risks and maximized social good? Even as proponents extol the virtues of open data, the field suffers from a lack of detailed evidence of the impact of open data, and, even more importantly, what contributed to that impact.

In this webinar, Stefaan Verhulst and Andrew Young of New York University’s Governance Lab ( will share lessons learned from a recent study undertaken in collaboration with Omidyar Network, aimed at addressing this lack of evidence. This in-depth analysis of 19 open data initiatives from across the globe uncovered new evidence of when, and how, open data works in practice. With a particular focus on the conditions that enable success and the key challenges to be mitigated in order to unlock positive social, economic, cultural and political open data impacts, Verhulst and Young will provide the type of operational, evidence-based guidance the field has largely lacked to date.

Stefaan Verhulst, Chief Research and Development Officer, The GovLab
Andrew Young, Associate Director of Research, the GovLab

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

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

Special Topics and Emerging Issues in Public Data: Introducing the Commerce Data Service

The US Department of Commerce has long been in the business of data collection, processing and dissemination that touches almost every facet of American life. A natural evolutionary step for the Department is to ensure that the analytical and technologist public is able to maximally benefit from open data, whether it is to strengthen the economy or to better study and understand society. The Commerce Data Service (CDS), a new data-centric startup team within the Office of the Secretary, has launched the Commerce Usability Project, a wide ranging effort designed to:

  • Illustrate data use cases including new algorithms, visualizations, discovery or other applications;
  • Develop reference or tutorial code to help the power-user public to start using data for analysis or software development; and
  • Provide feedback and user stories centered on general data usability.

Satellite imagery, demographic data and cybersecurity vulnerabilities represent just a sampling of the myriad use cases and potential applications. In this session, the CDS provides an in-depth overview of the user-centric offerings of this growing effort and outlines a vision for data usability in the public sector.

Jeffrey Chen, Chief Data Scientist, US Department of Commerce
Star Ying, Data Scientist, US Department of Commerce

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages

The Livability Index is a groundbreaking tool of the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) that scores every neighborhood and community in the United States for the services and amenities that affect people’s lives the most. Using more than 50 national sources of data, the AARP Livability Index provides the clearest picture yet of how well a community meets the current and future needs of people of all ages. The Livability Index measures 60 indicators spread across seven categories of livability: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity.

By 2030, older adults will account for 20 percent of the U.S. population. AARP surveys consistently show that older adults overwhelmingly desire to age in their homes and communities. The Livability Index can be a powerful tool for local officials and others in adapting their cities so that residents of all ages can stay active and engaged in their communities. The Index will help community leaders and individuals identify gaps between what people want and need and what their communities provide.

Shannon Guzman, Policy Research Senior Analyst from PPI will discuss the Livability Index and give a brief overview of AARP’s work in livable communities, the development of the tool and give a demo of the new tool.

Shannon Guzman, Policy Research Senior Analyst, AARP Public Policy Institute

Production, Uses and Access to State and Local Population Projections

The Federal-State Cooperative for Population Projections (FSCPP) provides a means for state demographers and experts at the U.S. Census Bureau to learn from each other with the objective of improving projections, as the methods employed to project population vary substantially across the States.

The FSCPP recently completed a survey of state demographers regarding their population projections. In this webinar the officers of the FSCPP will present information about state projections including why they are needed, the geographic areas covered, methods and inputs used, types of data that are produced, and how the projections are distributed. The webinar will include case studies of challenges and uses of state population projections, and will conclude with a demonstration of ways state population projection data and supporting information can be accessed.


  • Lloyd B. Potter, Texas State Demographer, Texas State Data Center, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Eddie Hunsinger, State Demographer, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
  • Mathew Hauer, Director, Applied Demography Program, University of Georgia