The federal data infrastructure is the informational system bedrock that supports our nation. It consists of a large, decentralized network of statistical agencies, units, and programs that work together to gather, share, and report information about a variety of subjects. These include measuring the economy, counting the population, monitoring public safety, and tracking student learning. Just like our nation’s physical infrastructure, data infrastructure supports American commerce, security, and democracy.
Policymakers use federal statistics to determine representation in the US House of Representatives and state legislatures, guide more than $1.5 trillion annually in federal assistance, respond to natural disasters, and enforce the Voting Rights Act.
Private Businesses use federal statistics to decide where to place a new plant or open a new outlet and even how to stock a store. The data helps them understand commercial markets, proximity to transportation, availability of talent, population, and demographics.
Citizens use federal statistics to find a school or university, choose the best curricula for their children, inform career decisions, find a job, and even check the weather.
The backbone of the US data infrastructure is the 13 principal federal statistical agencies that deliver objective, reliable data. This data is vital, since alternative data sources such as private sector surveys and administrative data cannot guarantee the accuracy and coverage of the broader population. Federal statistics can.