People News

Passing of Tim Holt
We are sad to report that Tim Holt, professor emeritus and former chair of social statistics at the University of Southampton, died suddenly on November 15, 2022, in the United Kingdom. He had a long and distinguished career in official statistics, beginning in 1970 at Statistics Canada, returning to the UK in 1973 to pursue an academic career at the University of Southampton. In 1995 he became director of the Central Statistical Office and led its merger with the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, to form the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 1996, providing a more integrated and comprehensive service to the government and the wider community. He was in the unique position of being the last director of the CSO and the first director of the ONS and ex officio registrar general. On his retirement from the ONS in 2000 he was made Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) and returned to the University of Southampton. He was president of the Royal Statistical Society from 2005 to 2007. During that period, he gave an outstanding and prescient public seminar for CNSTAT on “The Official Statistics Olympic Challenge: Wider, Deeper, Quicker, Better, Cheaper.” He had a B.Sc. in mathematics and a Ph.D. from the University of Exeter.

COSSA Executive Director Wendy Nauss Elected as 2022 AAAS Fellow
CNSTAT congratulates Wendy A. Naus, executive director of the Council of Social Science Associations (COSSA) since 2014, to the 2022 Class of Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She was recognized for “leadership in communicating to both Congress and the public the importance of the social and behavioral sciences, and for effective advocacy in support of these sciences.” Prior to joining COSSA, she spent a decade lobbying for the federal research and policy interests of scientific societies and U.S. universities. She has a B.A. in political science and urban studies from Canisius College.

Recent Events and Reports

  • Workshop on Considerations for Returning Individual Genomic Results from Population-Based Surveys: Focus on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, December 2, 7, and 8, 2022
    Video and other materials available from this site.
  • Celebrating 50 Years of CNSTAT and Looking to the Future: Toward a 21st Century National Data Infrastructure, October 13, 2022 Video and other materials available from this site.
  • 2020 Census Data Products: Workshop on the Demographic and Housing Characteristics Files, June 21-22, 2022
    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 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.

An Assessment of the Need for Native Seeds and the Capacity for their Supply: Final Report, a consensus report, chaired by Susan Harrison (University of California, Davis) and sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, was released January 26, 2023. Free PDFs are available here.
Extreme weather and wildfires, intensified by climate change, are damaging the native plant communities of landscapes across the United States. Native plant communities are foundational to thriving ecosystems, delivering goods and services that regulate the environment and support life, provide food and shelter for a wide range of native animals, and embody a wealth of genetic information with many beneficial applications. Restoring impaired ecosystems requires a supply of diverse native plant seeds that are well suited to the climates, soils, and other living species of the system. This report examines the needs for native plant restoration and other activities, provides recommendations for improving the reliability, predictability, and performance of the native seed supply, and presents an ambitious agenda for action.

Reassessment of the Department of Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, a consensus report, chaired by David Savitz (Brown University) and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, was released October 14, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.
Beginning with the 1990–1991 Gulf War, more than 3.7 million U.S. service members have been deployed to Southwest Asia, where they have been exposed to a number of airborne hazards, including oil-well fire smoke, emissions from open burn pits, dust and sand, diesel exhaust, and poor-quality ambient air. Many service members, particularly those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, have reported health problems they attribute to their exposure to emissions from open-air burn pits on military installations.
In 2013, Congress directed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish and maintain the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit (AH&OBP) Registry to “ascertain and monitor” the health effects of such exposures. This report serves as a follow-up to an initial assessment of the AH&OBP Registry completed by an independent committee of the National Academies in 2017. This reassessment does not include any strength-of-the-evidence assessments of potential relationships between exposures to burn pits or airborne hazards and health effects. Rather, this report assesses the ability of the registry to fulfill the intended purposes that Congress and VA have specified for it.

Research and Data Priorities for Improving Economic and Social Mobility: Proceedings of a Workshop was released October 3, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.
Since around 1980, fewer Americans than before have been doing better than their parents – that is, more have experienced downward social and economic mobility in occupational status and income. This trend in downward mobility is occurring amidst high and rising levels of inequality in income, wealth, health, and life expectancy. To better understand the factors that influence social and economic mobility, the Committee on Population and the Committee on National Statistics hosted a workshop on February 14-15, 2022. Courtney Coile (Wellesley College) chaired the workshop planning committee. The proceedings from this workshop, prepared by rapporteur Erin Hammers Forstag, identify key priorities for future research and data collection to improve social and economic mobility.

Toward a 21st Century National Data Infrastructure: Mobilizing Information for the Common Good, a consensus report, chaired by Robert Groves (Georgetown University) and sponsored by the National Science Foundation, was released September 15, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.
Historically, the U.S. national data infrastructure has relied on the federal statistical system and the data assets that it holds. Data and statistics from surveys were essential to what we know about the well-being of the society and economy, and provided an infrastructure for empirical social and economic research. Today, national statistics face both grave threats and, also, a historic opportunity. Declining survey participation poses a severe threat to the quality of statistical information. Yet, at the same time, the country produces unprecedented amounts of digital data about the activities of individuals and businesses.
Toward a 21st Century National Data Infrastructure: Mobilizing Information for the Common Good is the first of three reports funded by the National Science Foundation to explore the many issues surrounding a new data infrastructure. The report describes the need for a new national data infrastructure, presents an initial vision, and describes expected outcomes and key attributes of a new national data infrastructure. The report also discusses the implications of blending data from multiple sources as well as the organizational implications of cross sector data access and use. The report concludes by identifying short- and medium-term activities that facilitate progress toward the full vision. These tasks provide a possible roadmap that permits progress toward a full vision.

All Reports Available in Print or PDF
PDFs are downloadable for free from https://www.nap.edu

OTHER NEWS AND EVENTS

Public Comment Invited on Proposed Race and Ethnicity Reporting Standards—Comments Due April 12, 2023
On January 26, 2023, the Chief Statistician’s Office in OMB released a set of initial proposals to revise OMB’s statistical standards for collecting and reporting race and ethnicity data across federal agencies in a Federal Register Notice. These are initial proposals developed by an Interagency Technical Working Group—they are not the final recommendations from the Working Group to OMB, and they do not represent the positions of OMB or the agencies participating on the Working Group. Input from stakeholders and the public will be critical in guiding the Working Group as it continues to refine its recommendations. Comments can be submitted by April 12 at Regulations.gov, by searching for “OMB-2023-0001”.
The Working Group also has a new public website at: spd15revision.gov. The target to complete these revisions is summer 2024.

OMB releases Best Practices for the Collection of SOGI Data
In January 2023, the Chief Statistician’s Office in OMB issued Recommendations on the Best Practices for the Collection of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data on Federal Statistical Surveys. This is pursuant to the June 2022 Executive Order 14075 on Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Individuals.

FCSM 2022 Conference presentations posted; Call for Abstracts for 2023 Conference
Presentations from the 2022 FCSM Conference can be accessed for download in PDF format at https://www.fcsm.gov/events/2022-fcsm-conference/.
Looking ahead to the 2023 FCSM Research and Policy Conference, a few items to note:
• The conference will take place on October 24-26, 2023, at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center (3501 University Blvd E, Hyattsville, MD)
• The Call for Abstracts is available at www.fcsm2023.org, and abstracts are due April 3, 2023.

CNSTAT February 2023 newsletter final

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