GSS Newsletter SSS

 

American Statistical Association

Vol. 3 No. 2

July 1997

 

 

Sections Prepare for Anaheim...

 

GSS Ready for JSM!

There are certainly lots of hot issues this year -- welfare reform, privacy on the Internet, race and ethnicity, sampling in the census... The Government Statistics Section has lined up sessions on these topics and many more for you at the Joint Statistical Meetings this year -- nine sessions, five roundtable luncheons, and three poster presentations will feature the latest in Federal, State, and local government statistics. Thanks to Michael L. Cohen (1997 Program Chair) and Patricia Doyle (1998 Program Chair) for all of their efforts to line up an outstand-ing program!

 

The Section will sponsor two invited panel sessions:

 

 

 

 

 

FedStats is Here!

On May 22, 1997, the U.S. government announced the availability of its new One-Stop Shopping site for Federal statistics on the World Wide Web. The site -- FedStats (at www.fedstats.gov) -- uses the Internetís powerful link and search capabilities to navigate publicly-available statistics from over 70 Federal agencies. The purpose is to provide Internet users easy access to information they need, without having to know in advance which agency or agencies produce the data. (Contíd. on page 4.)

 

 

 

Ď96 Proceedings

Are Out!

The Proceedings from the 1996 Joint Statistical Meetings in Chicago are now available. See page 11 to order your copy, if you have not done so already.

SSS Programís a Winner!

The Social Statistics Section has scheduled a timely and important group of sessions for the ASA annual conference in Anaheim. Below is a sampling of the sessions you may want to plan to attend -- be sure to schedule your time around the following:

 

Sunday, 2:00 PM Redefining Poverty in the United States.-- This session focuses on the activities which followed last year's release of the National Academy of Sciences panel report on the redefinition of poverty. How can the Panel's re-commendations be implemented? What data are available, or can be developed, to meet the requirements a new definition will impose? Re-searchers from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and Agency for Health Care Policy and Research will address various aspects of these questions. (Co-sponsored by GSS)

 

Monday, 8:30 AM Small Domain Estimation -- Census Bureau Income and Poverty Estimates for States and Counties, 1993.-- This special contributed paper session addresses a variety of questions surrounding the controversial development of

income and poverty estimates at the county level. Production of these

(Contíd. on page 2.)

GSS Highlights -- contíd.

plans now so that you will be able to attend. Linda Gage, V. Joseph Hotz, Charles Metcalf, Donald Oellerich, and Wray Smith will explore some of the difficult issues that States and Federal agencies face with re- gard to data collection, manage-ment, and analysis under the new welfare reform legislation, which passed control for most welfare programs on to the States.

 

GSS is also especially pleased that all but one of the contributed ses-sions for this year are Special Topic sessions. This means that they have been organized around a common theme, the speakers are given a little more time to present their re-search in greater depth, and often there is a discussant, to provide additional food for thought. The sessions include two panels -- on use of administrative records for statis-tical purposes and on the Federal government's reports review pro-cess -- and four "regular" paper sessions -- on national and interna-tional security, revisions to the Consumer Price Index, longitudinal establishment databases, and statis-tical disclosure limitation. Special thanks to all of the organizers who helped pull together these sessions!

 

ASA is introducing a new event -- invited poster presentations -- on Sunday afternoon, August 10th, from 4:30-7:00 PM. One of special interest to GSS will feature Al Tupek and Valerie Gregg demon-strating the new Internet site which provides One-Stop Shopping for Federal Statistics. The Section's own contributed poster sessions -- on the National Home and Hospice Care Survey, uses of administrative records, and census mapping -- will be on display in the exhibit area on Monday, August 11th, from noon until 2:00 PM. Plan to stop by both times and interact with the authors in a less formal setting.

 

For those of you who enjoy a lively luncheon discussion, GSS has also planned five roundtable groups for Tuesday, August 12th -- from com-puterized data collection and Fed-eral statistics on the Internet to col-laborative statistical efforts, legisla-tive effects of welfare reform (to warm you up for Thursday's invited session), and misuse of Federal sta-tistics, all promise to generate inter-esting exchanges. Come along and share your ideas... Remember, the luncheons are fee events, so be sure to sign up in advance. Tickets for your choice table may go fast!

 

Remember to double check all dates and times of sessions you wish to attend, since last-minute changes can occur. Also, be sure to look for sessions other Sections have organ-ized that are co-sponsored by GSS -- this means that the GSS Program Chair feels the sessions may be of particular interest to our members.

 

Finally, we hope to see you at the Government Statistics Section's Business Meeting, on Monday, August 11th, 5:30-7:00 PM in the Redondo Room, Hilton Hotel. Come and hear what is new, meet colleagues and make new friends, and become involved in GSS. This is an open meeting and you are welcome!

 

 

SSS Highlights -- contíd.

estimates was mandated by Congress for use in distributing Title I education funding. Four papers presented by Census staff will discuss various aspects of the methods, followed by a discussant from Harvard. (Co-sponsored by GSS) This session also includes presentation of the Roger Herriot Award for innovative work in government statistics -- see "Kudos" on page 4.

 

Monday, 2:00 PM Preserving Privacy, Not Just Confidentiality.-- This invited paper session presents several different views on the issue of how to preserve confidentiality while, at the same time, making government data available for ap-propriate uses both by government agencies and by academic and other researchers. The session was or-ganized by the Survey Research Methods Section and is co-spon-sored by both SSS and GSS.

Monday, 6:00 PM Social Statistics Business Meeting (Palos Verdes B, Hilton Hotel)

 

Tuesday, 2:00 PM The Road to 2000 Census Data Content.-- The program for the session includes a presentation by Louisa Miller, the Census Bureau's lead staffer for census content issues, followed by a panel of discussants, including TerriAnn Lowenthal (former staff director, House Committee on Census and Statistics), Philip Fulton (Bureau of Transportation Statistics; he is the person who held Miller's job for the 1990 census), and Ryan Burson (State of Missouri). (Co-sponsored by GSS)

 

(Contíd. on page 3.)

 

More SSS Program -- contíd.

Wednesday, 10:30 AM Classi-fication of Race and Ethnicity: A Discussion.-- This is an invited panel organized and sponsored by the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics.

As many know, the official government standard on race and ethnic categories was promulgated as Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Directive 15 in 1977. For the past three years, OMB has been hard at work on a process to determine if, and how, this directive should be revised. As we write, the Federal Register has just released the recommendations of the interagency panel established by OMB to conduct research on this issue. Final resolution is scheduled for October. Panelists will include: Katherine K. Wallman, Chief Stat-istician of the United States, OMB; Rep. Thomas Sawyer, former Chair of the House Sub-Committee on Census and Statistics, who held a series of Congressional hearings which provided early input into this process; Margo Anderson, Univer-sity of Wisconsin; and Roderick J. Harrison, Census Bureau and co-chair of the interagency committee. The session is co-sponsored by SSS and GSS.

 

Wednesday, 10:30 AM Examining Immigration Flows.-- This special contributed papers session, organ-ized by Jane Gentleman of Statistics Canada, includes several papers discussing various aspects of the issues and controversies surrounding immigration. (Co-sponsored by GSS)

 

Wednesday, 12:30 PM Luncheon Roundtables.-- Social Statistics has organized eight luncheon round-tables. The topics and leaders are:

 

As you'll note, many of these roundtables address topics which are also part of the more formal program. It's your opportunity to meet the experts on these topics for a small and less formal discussion.

Wednesday, 2:00 PM The American Community Survey -- Uses and Issues.-- The American Community Survey (ACS) is the Census Bureau's proposed replacement for the census long form; the 2000 census is scheduled to be the last one which includes these items as part of the census itself. Three presenters in this session will address various aspects of the ACS, including making estimates, using these estimates in BLS labor force programs, and nonresponse problems.

 

Thursday, 8:30 AM Data Challenges of Welfare Reform.-- Panelists in this invited session will discuss various aspects of the emerging issues following passage of the Welfare Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 1996. (Spon-sored by GSS and co-sponsored by SSS)

Thursday, 10:30 AM Maria Elena Gonzalez Memorial Session.-- Maria Gonzalez, a long-time and highly valued member of the OMB Chief Statistician's Office staff, died unexpectedly last year. This session focuses on her work and the legacy she has left us. Papers include:

 

 

 

The session was organized by ASA and is cosponsored by both SSS and GSS.

 

GSS Papers

Go Online!

Thanks to Al Tupek, GSS has become one of the first ASA Sections to provide access to JSM Proceedings papers online. About a third of the papers presented at last yearís annual meeting in Chicago have been loaded onto the Sectionís homepage and can by accessed by Internet users.

 

To see the electronic Proceedings papers, first access the ASA homepage -- http://www.amstat.org; then, select "Sections," "Section on (Contíd. on page 4.)

GSS Online -- contíd.

Government Statistics," and

"Meetings and Training."

 

This is a pilot effort. Your feedback is invited. Also, if you prepared a paper for the 1996 GSS Proceedings and would like to include it in the electronic version, it is not too late -- send your comments and papers to Tupek at atupek@nsf.gov.

 

FedStats -- contíd.

How does it work? Well, FedStats is a user-friendly homepage, with direct links based on key topics. It is important to note that FedStats, itself, does not present any statistical information directly and that all links are to publicly-available aggregate information on each participating agencyís Web site.

 

Major features of FedStats are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FedStats also provides links to press releases, statistical policy updates, and government statistical agencies outside the United States. An on-line feedback feature is also pro-vided for users comments and suggestions.

 

Kudos to Connie Citro!

Constance F. Citro has just been selected to receive the 1997 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. Citro, who is Study Director for the Committee on National Statistics, National Academy of Sciences (NAS), is being recognized for over two decades of outstanding contributions to statistical issues affecting Federal policy, including her work:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Herriot Award, which is co-sponsored by GSS, SSS, and the Washington Statistical Society, will be presented to Citro at the special session on Small Domain Estima-tion, on Monday, Aug. 11, 8:30 AM.

 

Triplett Receives Shiskin Award

In June, the Washington Statistical Society and the National Association of Business Economists selected Jack Triplett for the Julius Shiskin Award for Economic Statistics.

 

Triplett, currently Chief Economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Research Economist to the National Bureau of Economic Research, worked for many years as Chief Economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He was cited for his broad contributions to the field of economic measurement, including the development and introduction of hedonic price index measurement techniques and superlative price and quantity indices in the National Income and Product Accounts and, (Contíd. on page 5.)

Shiskin Award -- contíd.

most recently, for his leadership role in the development and implemen-tation of the new North American Industry Coding System. In his acceptance speech, Triplett paid tribute to his former boss and

mentor, Julius Shiskin, and noted that receiving an award in his name was a particularly special honor.

 

The Votes

Are In...

Congratulations to our newly-elected Section officers:

 

GSS

Chair-Elect -- Michael L. Cohen, National Academy of Sciences

Program Chair-Elect -- Lynda Carlson, Energy Information Administration

Council of Sections Rep (1998-2000) -- Carolyn Shettle, National Science Foundation

 

SSS

Chair-Elect -- Edith McArthur, National Center for Education Statistics

Program Chair-Elect -- Stephanie Shipp, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Secretary/Treasurer (1998-1999) -- Martha Hill, University of Michigan

Council of Sections Rep (1998-2000) -- Constance Citro, National Academy of Sciences.

 

Congratulations, also, to our Sec-tion members who were elected to other ASA Offices!

 

Some New Pubs

A number of new publications and data files have recently been released that may be of interest to GSS and SSS Section members:

nchswww/nchshome.htm or call (703) 356-1964 (Pub # JO99).

 

 

 

cdc.gov/nchswww/nchshome.

htm .

 

 

Ideas Invited....

Help your favorite Sections get a jump on next year. Believe it or not, the first round of decisions about invited paper sessions for the 1998 Joint Statistical Meetings in Dallas will be made at the JSM in Anaheim. So, if you have any bright ideas for topics or speakers, contact your 1998 Program Chairs now -- Pat Doyle for GSS and Carolee Bush for SSS. The Program Committee is looking for well-balanced and

fleshed-out sessions

with broad appeal.

Your input is

always welcome!

 

 

Some

Upcoming

Events

Below are some upcoming events that are of particular interest to GSS and SSS members:

 

hgo.net/~noirs/noirs.html .

 

 

symposium will explore new trends and directions in design-ing and conducting surveys and censuses, in processing and ana-lyzing the collected data, and in disseminating the results. For information contact sympos97

@statcan.ca .

 

 

@etse.urv.es .

 

Comments Sought on Race & Ethnicity

In July, the Office of Management and Budget published a notice in the

 

 

Federal Register inviting public comment on the final report of the Interagency Committee on the Re-view of Ethnic and Racial Standards. The reportís new recommendations would change the way Americans respond to race and ethnic questions in administrative and survey data. Among the changes would be multi-ple racial response options and a change in the way Hispanic origin classifications are collected. Com-ments are being accepted through September 8, 1997; e-mail com-ments to ombdir15@a1.eop.gov .

 

Commentary:

Data Dissemination in the Next Century: Winners vs. Losers

Edward J. Spar

Executive Director, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics

 

There has been an international entrepreneurial breeze spreading (Contíd. on page 7.)

 

 

 

Commentary -- contíd.

throughout statistical agencies

around the world. What Iíve been hearing is: data are a public good -- as long as the public can afford to pay for them. There are different degrees of the marketing spirit to be found. Some agencies restrict access to data to companies who have been given a re-seller franchise (e.g., Statistics Canada). Itís then up to the re-seller to set the price and availability of the data. Even though the users have already paid for the collection of the data through their taxes, a second charge is applied to gain access to what has already been paid for.

 

This drive for profit from public sector agencies is not monolithic, and we suspect some are uncomfortable with charging for information. Indeed, they are conscious of the need to maintain the public trust. Historically, this tension between the

need to serve the public while simultaneously making money was limited to those agencies or inter-national organizations given copy-right protection. This is no longer the case. The United States Census Bureau, which does not have copy-right protection, has now haltingly entered the market place with its part-for free, part-for fee CENSTATS Internet site. To the Bureauís credit, they are only charging for datasets which require special tabulations. Contact them at http://www.census.gov/mp/www/

index2.html .

 

Of the eleven major Federal statistical agencies in the United States, the Census Bureau, to date, is the only agency to develop this new policy. (The Department of Commerce has STAT-USA, which is an economic site, but not part of the statistical agency structure. For more information, contact http://

www.stat-usa.gov .) This entry into the world of charging for data will conceptually create some strange contradictions. The guiding prin-ciples of data as a public good are strongly codified in circulars from the Office of Management and Budget and the Paperwork Reduction Act. Further, the guidelines make it clear that the charges to the user communities should only be those needed to recover the cost to dis-seminate the data. This philosoph-ically harks back to the concept that the public has already paid for the collection of the data through its taxes.

 

To complicate the issue of charging, the ability to gain access to data via the Internet has strengthened the perception that the information should be free. Indeed, there is a new site available -- FedStats -- which is a "one-stop-shop" for Federal statistics. Try it at http://

www.fedstats.gov. Also, there is now a single site for a series of economic and demographic data, developed by different agencies, that can be found through the White House homepage -- http://www.whitehouse.gov.

 

If one agency now starts charging for data at the same time as a free inter-agency service is in development, tensions have to occur. The imme-diate question is why should one agency have the right to limit what data go onto a coordinated system, while others make all of their files freely available? This problem is most likely unique to the United States, given its decentralized sys-tem. Then again, one could envision using the Internet as a means to develop an international agency variation of the one-stop-shop. Unfortunately, given the diverse pricing policies, it is difficult to see how this would work.

 

Another breeze -- and perhaps a more positive one, if handled correctly -- is the move towards more sophisticated ways of gaining access and analyzing official statistics. Statistical agencies have been developing public-private agree-ments, whereby the agencies are contracting with software companies to develop more sophisticated data retrieval systems. The Census Bureau is moving towards elimi-nating almost all pre-formatted tables for the decennial census, and is developing a system whereby the user can request any table via a "Data Access and Dissemination System" or DADS. There will be basic tabulations available for free, but all else will have a charge associated with it.

 

I am intrigued as to how the Census Bureau will handle its pricing policies in the 21st century. There is no reason to believe that the trend towards seeing data as another means to pay for agency expenses -- or the drive toward moving most data retrieval onto the Internet -- will diminish in the next century. Therefore, the question is, what does this mean for users? Will the Census Bureauís DADS system, which will require a high comfort level with the personal computer, along with access to a credit card, be a boon or a loss for data users? The answer, I believe, is: it depends. Most likely, businesses and universities will not care. They will sign up for whatever service -- public or private -- that they need. For countries with copyright protection, users will pay the franchisee. Iím guessing that the (Contíd. on page 8.)

Commentary -- contíd.

data vendors will simply download data one time, re-package the information, and then resell it at cheaper rates and with more features than the Census Bureau can afford to do. And, instead of having to pay for each additional table (can you imagine playing "what if..." in that environment?), vendors will let you have (Iím making some strong assumptions here) inexpensive access. It will be interesting to see how libraries respond to the deve-lopment of data retrieval systems relying predominantly on the Internet. For larger libraries, this might work financially, by passing hourly costs onto users. For smaller libraries, I think this would be problematic on both the technical and financial grounds. For the "home user," such as a student, access will be limited to the "haves"

in society, given that only 14% of high school students from the poorest families have home com-puters as compared to 82% of high school students from the most affluent families.

 

In conclusion, two major factors affecting the user of official statistics in the next century are technology and costs. Historically, costs have gone down as a function of increased technical capabilities. Will we now see the opposite take place?

 

 

GSS Section Contacts

 

Linda H. Gage, Chair (1997)

Department of Finance

915 L Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 323-4086 filgage@dof.ca.gov

 

Cynthia Z.F. Clark, Chair (1998)

6928 Butternut Court

McLean, VA 22101-1506

(202) 457-4557 cynthia.z.f.clark@ccmail.census.gov

 

Gerald W. Gates, Chair (1996)

Room 2430-3 DIR

Bureau of the Census

Washington, DC 20233-1000

(301) 457-2515 ggates@info.census.gov

 

Michael L. Cohen, Program Chair (1997)

9005 Walden Road

Silver Spring, MD 20901-3826

(202) 334-3765 mcohen@nas.edu

 

Patricia J. Doyle, Program Chair (1998)

HHES Iverson Mall, Room 307

Bureau of the Census

Washington, DC 20233

(301) 763-8018 patricia.j.doyle@ccmail.census.gov

 

Yahia Ahmed, Secretary/Treasurer

Statistics of Income Division CP:R:S

PO Box 2608

Washington, DC 20013-2608

(202) 874-0436 yahia.ahmed@wpgate.irs.gov

 

Wendy L. Alvey, Publications Officer

Statistics of Income Division CP:R:S

PO Box 2608

Washington, DC 20013-2608

(202) 874-0455 wendy.alvey@wpgate.irs.gov

 

Mary S. Heim, Section Council Rep.

Department of Finance

915 L Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 323-4080 fimheim@dof.ca.gov

 

Robert G. Lehnen, Rep. to COPAFS

Indiana University

342 North Senate Ave., 3rd Floor

Indianapolis, IN 46204-1708

(317) 261-3041 rlehnen@speanet.iupui.edu

 

 

 

SSS Section Contacts

 

Miron L. Straf, Chair (1997)

Committee on National Statistics

National Academy of Sciences

2101 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20418

(202) 334-3096 mstraf@nas.edu

 

Margo Anderson, Chair (1998)

University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee

Department of History

Milwaukee, MI 53201

(414) 229-4316 margo@csd.uwm.edu

 

Daniel H. Weinberg, Chair (1996)

HHES Iverson Mall, Room 307

Bureau of the Census

Washington, DC 20233-8500

(301) 763-8550 dweinber@census.gov

 

Edward J. Spar, Program Chair (1997)

5400 Bradley Blvd.

Bethesda, MD 20814

(703) 836-0404 copafs@aol.com

 

Carolee Bush, Program Chair (1998)

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

400 7th Street, SW K-20 Room 3430

Washington, DC 20590

(202) 366-6946 carolee.bush@bts.gov

 

Virginia A. DeWolf, Secretary/Treasurer

1719 Luzerne Avenue

Silver Spring, MD 20910-1510

(202) 606-7374 dewolf_v@bls.gov

 

Patricia C. Becker, Publications Officer

17321 Telegraph Road Suite 204

Detroit, MI 48219-3143

(313) 535-2077 pbecker@umich.edu

 

Daniel Kasprzyk, Section Council Rep.

4906 Colonel Contee Place

Upper Marlboro, MD

(202)219-1588 daniel_kasprzyk@ed.edu

 

 

 

 

ASA Staff Liaison -- GSS and SSS

Marie Argana

Director, Member Services

American Statistical Association

732 N. Washington St.

Alexandria, VA 22314-1943

(703) 684-1221 marie@amstat.org

 

 

 

Social Statistics Section Sessions -- contíd.

Session 92A Posters Contributed 8/11/97: 12:00 - 2:00 PM

A-15 Generalized Substantively Reweighted Least Squares Regression

A-16 Characteristics of Elderly and Their Use of Long-Term Care

A-17 Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Fatalities -- Evidence and Statistics

A-18 Drug Utilization in Ambulatory Medical Care Settings, 1992

A-19 Nursing Homes and Residents: A Two Year Comparison, 1985 and 1995

A-20 A Lifespan Perspective on the Association of Household Head and Individual Adult Education with Untreated Decay in the Primary, Mixed and Permanent Dentitions: U.S., 1988-1991

A-21 Borrowing Strength Across Sites: An Approach to the Analysis of Multi-Site Demonstration Research Projects

A-22 Performance of Constrained GLS and ADF Estimators for Correlation Structures when a Correlation Matrix is Used

A-23 ASA Chapters -- Shaping Statistics Now and for the Future

A-24 Studies on the Performance of Kuwait University Students

 

Session 258 Roundtable Luncheons 8/13/97: 12:30 - 2:00 PM

W-15 The Revised American Community Survey -- A Continuous National Sample to Meet Small Area Data Needs -- Jay Waite

W-16 Decennial Census Content -- What Will be the Long and Short Forms? -- Louisa Miller

W-17 Status of Sampling in the 2000 Census -- Martha Farnsworth Riche

W-18 Recommendations for Revised Race and Ethnicity Classification -- Clyde Tucker

W-19 Income and Poverty Estimates for Small Areas -- A New Census Bureau Program -- Paul Siegel

W-20 The Consumer Price Index -- New Developments in the CPI -- Brent Moulton

W-21 Illegal Immigration -- How Big is the Problem, What Are the Effects? -- Jeffrey Passel

W-22 Disability-Measuring and Determinant the Extent of Disability in the U.S. -- Mitchell LaPlante