Upcoming Events

May 16, 2022
May 18, 2022
Virtual Only

Toward a Vision for a New Data Infrastructure for Federal Statistics and Social and Economic Research in the 21st Century Workshop 2: The Implications of Using Multiple Data Sources for Major Survey Programs; see this site for details. Agenda included at the end of the newsletter.

May 16, 2022 – Virtual Only
Public Meeting of the Panel on an Integrated System of Household Income, Wealth, and Consumption Data and Statistics to Inform Policy and Research; see this site for details.

June 21-23, 2022, Hybrid
Public Workshop on 2020 Census Data Products: Housing and Demographic Characteristics, details forthcoming


People News

CNSTAT Welcomes Karin A. Orvis as Chief Statistician at OMB
Dr. Karin A. Orvis was named as the Chief Statistician and Branch Chief for Statistical and Science Policy in the Office of Management and Budget. Previously, Dr. Orvis served in executive-level roles in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), strategically leading multidisciplinary, interagency teams in designing, implementing, and evaluating enterprisewide policies and programs via the use of data, statistical analysis, research, and information management as a strategic asset. Most recently she served as the Director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, responsible for suicide prevention programs DoD-wide, with a portfolio spanning policy, program development and evaluation, data analysis and reporting, research, outreach and engagement. She also served as the Acting Principal Director of Military Community and Family Policy, responsible for the military community quality-of-life programs for service members and their families, as well as the Director of the Transition to Veterans Program Office, where she led the interagency Transition Assistance Program, ensuring that service members are fully prepared to transition from active duty to civilian life. As part of the presidentially-directed Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force, Dr. Orvis planned and executed a large-scale, statistical and data-driven pilot program evaluation that was eventually adopted in over 200 locations. Throughout all of her federal roles, she strategically leveraged data collection methods, statistical analysis, research, and program  evaluation to drive policymaking, and directed and oversaw interdisciplinary research to develop new strategies to shape future policies and  programs. Dr. Orvis holds a Doctorate and a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Michigan State University.

CNSTAT Congratulates Emilda Rivers on Receiving the AAPOR Public Service Award
The American Association for Public Opinion Research presented its 2022 Public Service award to Emilda Rivers to honor her distinguished accomplishments across many public service roles both within her agency and across agencies. Her direction and vision when leading these high-profile interagency efforts demonstrate a commitment to public service and a dedication to maintaining the high quality of AAPOR standards and government-wide evidence-building research activities. APPOR cited her “integrity, dedication to transparency and a strong commitment to public service throughout her career,” including her service as director of the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF); as chair of the Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building (ACDEB); and as co-chair of the Executive Committee for the Federal Statistical Research Data Centers, among other roles. AAPOR also praised Emilda for consistently championing “the diversity of perspectives needed to ensure that U.S. federal statistics are as useful and accessible as possible to the American public and decision-makers.

CNSTAT Welcomes EIA Administrator Joseph DeCarolis
Joseph DeCarolis was confirmed as administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on March 31, 2022. Previously he served as a professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. He also previously worked as an environmental scientist in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development, where he engaged in energy systems modeling to quantify the air pollution impacts from future energy system development. His career and publications have centered on addressing energy and environmental challenges as they relate to engineering, economics, and public policy. His core research involves developing and applying energy system models to examine energy futures under uncertainty. His awards include the NC State Outstanding Teaching Award, and the NC State Alcoa Foundation Engineering Research Achievement Award. He received a Ph.D. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University, and he holds a B.S. in physics and environmental science and policy from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Recent Events and Reports

CNSTAT Seminar: Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation, April 4, 2022
Video and other materials available from this site.

CNSTAT Seminar: Transparency in Statistical Information for Federal Agencies, December 17, 2021
Video and other materials available from this site.

Toward a Vision for a New Data Infrastructure for Federal Statistics and Social and Economic Research in the 21st Century Workshop 1: The Scope, Components, and Characteristics of a 21st Century Data Infrastructure, December 9 and 16, 2021
Video and other materials available from this site.

REMINDER: Slides from previous CNSTAT public seminars are available on the CNSTAT public seminars page.

2022 FCSM Research & Policy Conference – October 25-27, 2022: Abstracts Due May 16, 2022
The 2022 FCSM Research and Policy Conference provides a forum for experts and practitioners from around the world to discuss and exchange current methodological knowledge and policy insights about topics of current and critical importance to federal agencies.
Submission forms and instructions can be found at https://fcsm2022.org/

Modernizing the Consumer Price Index consensus report, chaired by Daniel Sichel (Wellesley College) and sponsored by Bureau of Labor Statistics will be released on May 3, 2022.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is the most widely used measure of inflation in the U.S. It is used to determine cost-of-living allowances and, among many other important private- and public-sector applications, influences monetary policy. The CPI has traditionally relied on field-generated data, such as prices observed in person at grocery stores or retailers. However, as these data have become more challenging and expensive to collect in a way that reflects an increasingly dynamic marketplace, statistical agencies and researchers have begun turning to opportunities created by the vast digital sources of consumer price data that have emerged. The enormous economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, including major shifts in consumers’ shopping patterns, presents a perfect case study for the need to rapidly employ new data sources for the CPI.

This report presents guidance to BLS as the agency embarks on a strategy of accelerating and enhancing the use of scanner, web-scraped, and digital data directly from retailers in compiling the CPI. The report also recommends strategies for BLS to more accurately estimate the composition of households’ expenditures — or market basket shares — by updating this information more frequently and using innovative survey techniques and alternative data sources where possible. The report provides targeted guidance for integrating new data sources to improve the CPI’s estimation of changes in the prices of housing and medical care, two consumer expenditure categories that are traditionally difficult to measure. Because of the urgency of issues related to income and wealth inequality, the report also recommends that BLS identify data sources that would allow it to estimate price indexes defined by income quintile or decile.

Understanding the Quality of the 2020 Census: Interim Report, a consensus report, chaired by Teresa Sullivan (University of Virginia) and sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau, was released April 7, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.

The decennial census is foundational to the functioning of American democracy, and maintaining the public’s trust in the census and its resulting data is a correspondingly high-stakes affair. The 2020 Census was implemented in the face of severe operational challenges, the need to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and other disruptions. This interim report from a panel of the Committee on National Statistics discusses concepts of error and quality in the decennial census as prelude to the panel’s forthcoming fuller assessment of 2020 Census data, process measures, and quality metrics. The panel will release a final report that will include conclusions about the quality of the 2020 Census and make recommendations for further research by the U.S. Census Bureau to plan the 2030 Census.

A Vision and a Roadmap for Education Statistics, a consensus report chaired by Larry Hedges (Northwestern University) and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, was released April 7, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.

The education landscape in the United States has been changing rapidly in recent decades: student populations have become more diverse; there has been an explosion of data sources; there is an intensified focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; educators and policy makers at all levels want more and better data for evidence-based decision making; and the role of technology in education has increased dramatically. With awareness of this changed landscape the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide a vision for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)—the nation’s premier statistical agency for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating statistics at all levels of education. A Vision and Roadmap for Education Statistics reviews developments in using alternative data sources, considers recent trends and future priorities, and suggests changes to NCES’s programs and operations, with a focus on NCES’s statistical programs. The report reimagines NCES as a leader in the 21st century education data ecosystem, where it can meet the growing demands for policy-relevant statistical analyses and data to more effectively and efficiently achieve its mission, especially in light of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 and the 2021 Presidential Executive Order on advancing racial equity. The report provides strategic advice for NCES in all aspects of the agency’s work including modernization, stakeholder engagement, and the resources necessary to complete its mission and meet the current and future challenges in education.

Improving Consent and Response in Longitudinal Studies of Aging: Proceedings of a Workshop, summarizing the presentations at a workshop chaired by Michael Davern (NORC at the University of Chicago) and sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, was released March 29, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.

The workshop included presentations by NIA funded studies at the beginning to provide key background for the participants. The workshop included sessions focused on ways to identify and reduce selection bias, improve participant engagement, and maximize respondent retention. There were also sessions examining the ethical considerations and complexity of obtaining informed consent. Innovation was the focus or two sessions of the workshop that examined data linkage and innovative strategies for improving consent and response. The wrap-up session at the end of the workshop included reflections by the planning committee members on what they saw as the key themes and research priorities for NIA. Some of these priorities included maintaining contact over time, being sensitive to geographic differences, gaining more insight into why people consent, and enhancing data and statistical methods for bias reduction.

A Pragmatic Future for NAEP: Containing Costs and Updating Technologies, a consensus report chaired by Karen Mitchell (American Association of Medical Colleges, retired) and sponsored by the Department of Education, was released March 24, 2022. Free PDFs are available here. The report recommends changes to the administration and program management of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Often called “The Nation’s Report Card”, this program is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what students in public and private schools in the United States know and can do in various subjects and has provided policy makers and the public with invaluable information on U.S. students for more than 50 years. However, costs for this program have risen substantially in recent years, now costing $175.2 million per year. The report identifies areas where federal administrators could take advantage of savings, such as new technological tools and platforms as well as efforts to use local administration and deployment for the tests. Additionally, the report recommends areas where the program should clearly communicate about spending and undertake efforts to streamline management. The report also provides recommendations to increase the visibility and coherence of NAEP’s research activities.

Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation, a consensus report co-chaired by Nancy Bates (Census Bureau, retired) and Marshall Chin (University of Chicago) and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, was released March 9, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.
Sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation are key indicators of the demographic diversity in the United States. Sex and gender are often conflated under the assumptions that they are mutually determined and do not differ from each other; however, the growing visibility of transgender and intersex populations, as well as efforts to improve the measurement of sex and gender across many scientific fields, has demonstrated the need to reconsider how sex, gender, and the relationship between them are conceptualized. This is turn affects sexual orientation, because it is defined on the basis of the relationship between a person’s own sex or gender and that of their actual or preferred partners. Sex, gender, and sexual orientation are core aspects of identity that shape opportunities, experiences with discrimination, and outcomes through the life course; therefore, it is crucial that measures of these concepts accurately capture their complexity and reflect the diversity within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and other sexual and gender minorities—the LGBTQI+ population. LGBTQI+ people continue to experience disparate and inequitable treatment, which in turn affects outcomes in many areas of everyday life. Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation recommends that NIH adopt new practices for collecting data on sex, gender, and sexual orientation and recommends standardized language to be used for questions that ask about a respondent’s sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Better measurements will improve data quality, as well as the NIH’s ability to identify LGBTQI+ populations and understand the challenges they face.

Transparency in Statistical Information for the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics and All Federal Statistical Agencies, a consensus report chaired by Daniel Kasprzyk (NORC) and sponsored by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), was released November 18, 2021. Free PDFs are available here.

Widely available, trustworthy government statistics are essential for policy makers and program administrators at all levels of government, for private sector decision makers, for researchers, and for the media and the public. In the United States, principal statistical agencies as well as units and programs in many other agencies produce various key statistics in areas ranging from the science and engineering enterprise to education and economic welfare. Official statistics are often the result of complex data collection, processing, and estimation methods. These methods can be challenging for agencies to document and for users to understand. The goal of transparency is to enable consumers of federal statistics to accurately understand and evaluate how estimates are generated.

Transparency in Statistical Information for the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics and All Federal Statistical Agencies examines the degree to which the information currently provided by NCSES and the other federal statistical agencies is consistent with the goals of being transparent. The panel identified best practices that agencies can use to determine the extent to which their policies are consistent with transparency. The report also explores how NCSES could work with other federal statistical agencies to facilitate the adoption of currently available documentation and archiving standards and tools.

Building Data Capacity for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research: Interim Report 3—A Comprehensive Ecosystem for PCOR was released January 11, 2022. Free PDFs are available here. Building Data Capacity for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research: Interim Report 2—Data Standards, Methods, and Policy, was released October 27, 2021. Free PDFs are available here. Building Data Capacity for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research: Interim Report 1—Looking Ahead at Data Needs was released September 10, 2021. Free PDFs are available here. All three are consensus reports chaired by George Isham (HealthPartners Institute) and sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). ASPE, in partnership with other agencies and divisions of DHHS, coordinates a portfolio of projects that build data capacity for conducting patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). PCOR focuses on producing scientific evidence on the effectiveness of prevention and treatment options to inform the health care decisions of patients, families, and health care providers, taking into consideration the preferences, values, and questions patients face when making health care choices. ASPE asked the National Academies to appoint a consensus study committee to identify issues critical to the continued development of the data infrastructure for PCOR over the next decade.

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