Forum on Aging-Related Statistics and the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. The former was established in the mid-1980s by the National Institute on Aging, in cooperation with the National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau. The forum’s goals include coordinating the development and use of statistical databases among federal agencies, identifying information gaps and data inconsistencies, and encouraging cross-national research and data collection for the aging population. The forum was reorganized in 1998 to include 6 new agencies and has grown since then to include 15 agencies. The forum develops a periodic indicators chart book, which was first published in 2000 and was most recently issued in 2012 (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, 2012).

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics was formalized in a 1994 executive order to foster collaboration in the collection and reporting of federal data on children and families. Its membership currently includes 22 statistical and program agencies. The forum’s reports (e.g., Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2012) describe the condition of America’s children, including changing population and family characteristics, the environment in which children are living, and indicators of well-being in the areas of economic security, health, behavior, social environment, and education.

No single agency, whether a statistical agency or program agency, could have produced the forum reports alone. Working together in this way, federal statistical agencies contribute to presenting data in a form that is more relevant to policy concerns and to a stronger statistical system overall. Similar collaborative efforts aimed at integrating not only data dissemination, but also data collection and estimation, using traditional and nontraditional data sources, are critically important to improving the relevance, accuracy, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness of the output from the nation’s federal statistical system.

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