Ten Things You Can Do with Census Data
Every year the Census Bureau comes under attack from elected officials who unfortunately know little about how immensely valuable its services are. The Census accounts for a miniscule slice of the total U.S. budget, and yet it provides some of the most essential services that bolster good government, political stability, and economic growth. These are things that benefit everyone.
Those of us who do research for a living understand how valuable Census data are, because we use it every day in the work that we do for our companies, clients, and organizations.
This year the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS) is working hard (again) to counter the slash and burn proclivities of our legislators. COPAFS is an organization that “represents over 300,000 individual researchers, educators, public health professionals, civic groups, and businesses that rely on the quality and accessibility of statistics that can only be effectively collected by the federal government.”
So what is all that census data good for? COPAFS put together an extensive list, from which we have selected ten that are hugely important to the work that we (and probably you!) do every day :
1. Calculate benchmarks on businesses, technology, and risk for lenders
2. Track economic health to set interest rates
3. Forecast future housing, transportation, and healthcare needs
4. Decide where schools should be built and education dollars invested
5. Create maps to speed emergency services
6. Predict how communicable diseases are likely to spread
7. Draw federal, state, and local legislative districts
8. Prove to new businesses the value of locating to specific areas
9. Evaluate how new policies will affect the people and economies in specific areas
10. Decide how over $300 billion in federal funds should be allocated and invested
For sure, there are good reasons to worry about governments and private businesses overreaching when it comes to collecting personal data. But the Census Bureau provides an amazing example of how to collect and share data that is eminently useful to every sector of our economy and that conforms to the highest standards of scientific rigor and political integrity.
Every business needs the Census Bureau. You need the Census Bureau. Please join Versta Research in reminding your legislators of this.