— FOR A —
Federal Statistical Agency
Committee on National Statistics
Constance F. Citro and Miron L. Straf, Editors
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Grant No. SES-1024012 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation, which provides funding from a consortium of federal agencies. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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Copyright 2013 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2013). Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, Fifth Edition. Committee on National Statistics. Constance F. Citro and Miron L. Straf, Editors. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 2012–2013
LAWRENCE D. BROWN (Chair), Department of Statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
JOHN M. ABOWD, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University
DAVID CARD, Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
ALICIA CARRIQUIRY, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University
CONSTANTINE GATSONIS, Center for Statistical Sciences, Brown University
JAMES S. HOUSE, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan
MICHAEL HOUT, Survey Research Center, University of California, Berkeley
SALLIE ANN KELLER, Department of Statistics, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
LISA M. LYNCH, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University
SALLY C. MORTON, Department of Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
RUTH D. PETERSON, Criminal Justice Research Center, Ohio State University
EDWARD H. SHORTLIFFE, Columbia University and Arizona State University
HAL STERN, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, University of California, Irvine
JOHN H. THOMPSON, NORC at the University of Chicago
ROGER TOURANGEAU, Westat, Rockville, MD
CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Director
This fifth edition of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency is dedicated to Margaret E. Martin (1912–2012), the founding director (1972–1978) of the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) and one of the editors of the first edition of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, in 1992. After retiring as CNSTAT director, she continued as a senior research associate and then as a consultant to the committee, contributing to committee projects on the Survey of Income and Program Participation and sharing research data and subsequent editions of Principles and Practices. Her work and her leadership of CNSTAT set high standards that have guided all of those who followed her.
Before coming to CNSTAT, Dr. Martin had a distinguished career in the service of the federal statistical system, retiring in 1972 after 30 years with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (formerly the U.S. Bureau of the Budget). She became well known for evaluating agency proposals for collecting relevant data and coordinating their efforts toward obtaining the best available information while maintaining reasonable limit burdens on respondents and containing expenditures.
Dr. Martin was deservedly recognized in many ways by the statistical profession. She was a fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), president of the Washington chapter, and the association’s 75th president. She received the first-ever ASA Founders Award. She was also an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, an honorary lifetime member of the board of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal
Statistics, and chair of Section U (statistics) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1986.
It is with fond memories, deep gratitude, and appreciation for her outstanding accomplishments that the Committee on National Statistics dedicates this volume to the memory of Margaret E. Martin.
The Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) thanks the many people who contributed their time and expertise to the preparation of this report. We are most appreciative of their cooperation and assistance.
In expressing our gratitude to the staff, a special measure of recognition is due to Miron Straf, who originated the concept for this report and who, with the late Margaret E. Martin, to whom this volume is dedicated, coedited the first (1992) edition. Straf has continued as an editor of the subsequent editions, joined by CNSTAT director Constance Citro. This edition, like its predecessors, benefited from the editing of Eugenia Grohman of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. We also thank Daniel Cork and Jacqui Sovde of the committee staff for their editing and graphic assistance. We are indebted to many others who offered valuable comments and suggestions, too numerous to mention.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: John Gardenier, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (retired); Turkan K. Gardenier, (formerly) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Energy Information Administration; Daniel Kasprzyk, Center for Excellence in Survey Research, NORC at the University of Chicago; David McMillen, Office of Strategy and Communications, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration; Andrew Reamer, Institute of Public Policy, George Washington University; and Katherine R. Smith, Executive Director’s Office, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert Bell, Statistics Research Department, AT&T Labs Research. Appointed by the Report Review Committee, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Finally, we recognize the many federal agencies that support the Committee on National Statistics directly and through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Without their support and their commitment to improving the national statistical system, the committee work that is the basis of this report would not have been possible.
Lawrence D. Brown, Chair
Committee on National Statistics