Upcoming Events

The National Academies is holding some meetings in person and virtually for some events, but virtual options are available. All times are Eastern.

June 21-22, 2022
Public Workshop on 2020 Census Data Products: Housing and Demographic Characteristics; agenda available here and register here

June 30, 2022
A Roadmap for Disclosure Avoidance in the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) More information will be available shortly here.


People News

CNSTAT Welcomes Jed Kolko as Commerce Department Under Secretary for Economic Affairs
Jed Kolko is under secretary of commerce for economic affairs in the U.S. Department of Commerce, having been confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 7, 2022. In this position, he coordinates economic analysis for the Commerce Department and provides direction and oversight for the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Before joining the Commerce Department, he served as chief economist at Indeed, a global jobs site, and Trulia, an online real-estate firm. He served on the boards of directors of the National Association for Business Economics and the California Budget and Policy Center. His research spans employment, housing, local economic development, and technology issues. He received his A.B. in social studies and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

CNSTAT Congratulates Katharine Abraham and Vincent Hutchings on Their Election to the National Academy of Sciences
Katharine Abraham is a distinguished university professor in the Department of Economics and the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the labor market, including such topics as the contingent workforce, work and retirement decisions of older Americans, labor market adjustment over the business cycle, unemployment and job vacancies, and the measurement of economic activity. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a distinguished fellow of the American Economic Association, and an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Society of Labor Economists. She is a past president of the Society of Labor Economists and current chair of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth. She also serves as an advisor to the Congressional Budget Office, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. She co-chaired the bipartisan Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking, was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, and served two terms as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. She served on the Committee on National Statistics and chaired consensus panels that produced Beyond the Market: Designing Nonmarket Accounts for the United States (2005) and Reengineering the Census Bureau’s Annual Economic Surveys (2018). She has a B.S. in economics from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard.

Vincent Hutchings is professor of political science and research professor, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. His research focuses on public opinion, elections, voting behavior, and African American politics, including how the size of the African American constituency in congressional districts can influence legislative responsiveness to Black interests, and the ways that campaign communications can “prime” various group identities and subsequently affect candidate evaluations. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar, and previously served as the Principal Investigator for the American National Election Study. He served on the CNSTAT Standing Committee on Reengineering Census Operations from 2015 to 2019. He has a B.A. in Political Science from San Jose State University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

CNSTAT Congratulates John Abowd as the Recipient of the Edward P. Lazear Prize
John M. Abowd is the recipient of the 2022 Edward Lazear Prize for excellence in research, exemplary service to the field, and contributions to civil society from the Society of Labor Economists (SOLE). John is the Edmund Ezra Day Professor Emeritus of Economics, Statistics and Data Science at Cornell University, and Associate Director for Research and Methodology and Chief Scientist at the United States Census Bureau. He is also affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research, CREST (France), IZA (Germany), and IAB (Germany). He is a fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Statistical Association, and, of course, SOLE. The award cited his research that revolutionized the use of matched employer-employee datasets, as well as his efforts at the Census Bureau leading efforts to create datasets, such as the LEHD, that have been key to innumerable research advances in labor economics research. John served on the Committee on National Statistics, and chaired the consensus panel that produced Collecting Compensation Data from Employers (2012) and served on panels that produced Understanding Business Dynamics (2007) and Expanding Access to Research Data (2005). He has an A.B. in Economics from Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago.

Recent Events and Reports

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, May 16 and 18, 2022
Video and other materials available from this site.

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.

Building Data Capacity for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research: Priorities for the Next Decade, a consensus report, chaired by George Isham (HealthPartners Institute) and sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and other agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), was released May 18, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.
ASPE/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. Building Data Capacity for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research contains findings and conclusions in the areas that could benefit from being prioritized as part of ASPE’s work, and offers input on strengthening the overall framework for building the data infrastructure over the coming years. The committee authoring this report also issued three interim reports, which summarized discussions from three workshops, and are included as appendices in the final report.

Understanding the Aging Workforce: Defining a Research Agenda, a consensus report, chaired by Susan Fiske (Princeton University), and sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, was released May 5, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.
The aging population of the United States has significant implications for the workforce – challenging what it means to work and to retire in the U.S. In fact, by 2030, one-fifth of the population will be over age 65. This shift has significant repercussions for the economy and key social programs. Due to medical advancements and public health improvements, recent cohorts of older adults have experienced better health and increasing longevity compared to earlier cohorts. These improvements in health enable many older adults to extend their working lives. While higher labor market participation from this older workforce could soften the potential negative impacts of the aging population over the long term on economic growth and the funding of Social Security and other social programs, these trends have also occurred amidst a complicating backdrop of widening economic and social inequality that has meant that the gains in health, improvements in mortality, and access to later-life employment have been distributed unequally.
Understanding the Aging Workforce: Defining a Research Agenda offers a multidisciplinary framework for conceptualizing pathways between work and nonwork at older ages. This report outlines a research agenda that highlights the need for a better understanding of the relationship between employers and older employees; how work and resource inequalities in later adulthood shape opportunities in later life; and the interface between work, health, and caregiving. The research agenda also identifies the need for research that addresses the role of workplaces in shaping work at older ages, including the role of workplace policies and practices and age discrimination in enabling or discouraging older workers to continue working or retire.

Modernizing the Consumer Price Index, a consensus report, chaired by Daniel Sichel (Wellesley College) and sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was released on May 3, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.
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.

Other News and Events

Joint Statistical Meetings
August 8, 2022 7:00 am
Roundtable Discussion: Summary of Recent Committee on National Statistics’ Report on Transparency in Official Statistics Michael L Cohen, CNSTAT
Dan Kasprzyk, NORC

August 10, 2022 10:30 am
Invited Session: 50 Years of the Committee on National Statistics: Impacts and Vision for the Future – Melissa Chiu, CNSTAT (chair)
Brian Harris-Kojetin and Constance Citro, CNSTAT Robert Groves, Georgetown University Emilda Rivers, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics Cynthia Clark, National Agricultural Statistics Service (retired)


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