Guest Speaker - Bob Groves
Tue, March 8, 2011 • 2:00 PM • GEB 3rd floor conference room
Director, U.S. Census Bureau
The 23rd Census of the United States, Official Statistics, and the Academic Discipline of Statistics
The 2010 Census is just one product of the US Federal Statistical System, a collection of 14 principal statistical agencies and 70-80 others with statistical activities. The talk begins with an overview of this system. The quality framework of “official” statistics produced by these agencies only partially overlaps with that of the discipline of statistics. Most interesting are the mechanisms supporting large diverse audiences for government statistics to judge them relevant to their needs and credible in their values.
Based on the Constitutional requirements, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a full census of the U.S. resident population every 10 years. Like much social science research, the U.S. census is shaped by features of scientific measurement associated with self-report by humans. Unlike most social science surveys, however, the census collects data from the entire population and does not use the traditional inferential paradigms of statistics. The absence of sampling also necessitates a vast, logistically complex operation to ensure that census data are complete and measurement is performed in a uniform way. The talk reviews this operation for the 2010 Census.