Census Director Robert Groves blogged recently about the consequences of budget cuts and “determined that Census needed to terminate a number of existing programs such as the Current Industrial Reports program, the Statistical Abstract, and our foreign demographic analysis program to mention a few, in order to fund higher priority programs.”
So recently the Census Bureau announced it is “terminating the collection of data for the Statistical Compendia program effective October 1, 2011. The Statistical Compendium program is comprised of the Statistical Abstract of the United States and its supplemental products — the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book and the County and City Data Book.”
A recent article “Grumblings persist over demise of Statistical Abstract” quotes Jessica McGilivray, assistant director of government relations in the ALA’s Washington office, who said she is “not incredibly hopeful” that the abstract can be saved. Because the decision to eliminate it “came straight from Census to the president’s budget, there’s not a lot of leeway,” she said. “The government information will still be gathered, but it won’t be accessible in a usable format. Librarians are trained to access it with some effort, but for the general public, it’s a loss.”
The author has developed a social knowledgebase, dashboard, and Excel file download of the Statistical Abstract of the United States to continue it as a public service. The author also developed a master spreadsheet inventory of the Statistical Abstract files to help readers more easily understand and access this great historical resource. In addition, his more detailed analyses of the 2010 Census and Statistical Abstract are found elsewhere.
The main thing that will continue is the decennial census like 2010 and key surveys.
One of the most interesting results I found in the 2010 Census was the animation of the movement of the population center. The center is determined as the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all residents were of identical weight.
Historically, the center of population has followed a trail that reflects the sweep of the nation’s brush stroke across America’s population canvas. The sweep reflects the settling of the frontier, waves of immigration and the migration west and south. Since 1790, the location has moved in a westerly, then a more southerly pattern. In 2000, the new center of population was more than 1,000 miles from the first center in 1790, which was near Chestertown, Md.
An interesting list of facts about the 2010 Center of Population has been provided by the Census Bureau.
An animated version of the illustration above can be found here.
So I say let’s be grateful we have had such great data resources like the Statistical Abstract, and its supplemental products – - the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book and the County and City Data Book, since 1789 and that we got one more for 2012, and that those remaining key surveys will provide the critical data we need to understand the major changes that are occurring in the United States and inform the public and decision makers about what to do about them.