• National Agricultural Statistics Service (Agriculture Department)

  • National Center for Education Statistics (Education Department)

  • National Center for Health Statistics (Health and Human Services Department)

  • Office of Environmental Information (Environmental Protection Agency)

  • Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics (Social Security Administration)

  • Science Resources Statistics Division (National Science Foundation)

  • Statistics of Income Division (Treasury Department)

Throughout the federal government, OMB recognizes more than 80 units and agencies that are not statistical agencies but that have annual budgets of $500,000 or more for statistical activities (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 2008c:Table 1). The principles for federal statistical agencies presented here should apply to other federal agencies that carry out statistical activities, and they may find many of the detailed practices pertinent as well. Similarly, the principles and practices may be relevant to statistical units in state and local government agencies, and international audiences may also find them useful.


One of the most important reasons for establishing a statistical agency is to provide information that will allow for an informed citizenry. A democracy depends on an informed electorate. A citizen has a right to information that comes from a trustworthy, credible source and is relevant, accurate, and timely. Timely information of high quality is also critical to policy analysts and decision makers in both the public and private sectors. (For more information on the purposes of official statistics, see the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics of the United Nations Statistical Commission in Appendix C; see also U.N. Economic Commission for Europe, 2003; U.N. Statistical Commission, 2003.) Federal statistical agencies serve the key functions of providing a broad array of information to the public and policy makers and of ensuring the necessary quality and credibility of the data.

Commercial, nonprofit, and academic organizations in the private sector also provide useful statistical information, including data they collect themselves and data they acquire from government agencies and other data

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