Everyone is talking about the importance of data to our society as data improves all of our decisions: those we make as individuals, as businesses, as governments.
Government has been in the data business for quite some time, going back to the first Decennial Census in 1790. Since then, the U.S. Government has played a key role in providing valuable data to our country.
Just how valuable is the data the Federal Government provides? That question can’t be answered precisely, but there are many reasons to believe that the value of the data to our society far exceeds its cost. As a first step in ascertaining better estimates of just how valuable Government data is, this report focuses on Federal statistical data, data that informs us about our huge, complex, and dynamic economy and data that tells us about our ever changing population. Examples of Government statistical data include gross domestic product, employment and unemployment, consumer prices, retail sales, housing vacancies, residential construction, agricultural supply and demand, corporate profits, and international trade; there are many more.