Saturday, September 13, 2014

The US Statistical Abstract RIP

For John, BLUFLack of data is not a good thing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

My Brother John just noted in an EMail that the US Statistical Abstract is no more.  I was shocked and in disbelief.  I have several of the yearly editions.  I have purchased them from the Government Printing Office by mail and by driving by the sales office on North Capital Street in DC.  Now, poof, it is gone.  Well, gone as an entity.  And gone from the Internet as an entity.

Old copies are still there, going back to 1878.  But they aren’t making any new ones, and haven’t since 2012.

This is from the Bureau of Census webpage:

The U.S. Census Bureau is terminating the collection of data for the Statistical Compendia program effective October 1, 2011. The Statistical Compendium program is comprised of the Statistical Abstract of the United States and its supplemental products - - the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book and the County and City Data Book. In preparation for the Fiscal Year 2012 (FY 2012) budget, the Census Bureau did a comprehensive review of a number of programs and had to make difficult proposals to terminate and reduce a number of existing programs in order to acquire funds for higher priority programs. The decision to propose the elimination of this program was not made lightly. To access the most current data, please refer to the organizations cited in the source notes for each table of the Statistical Abstract.
I wonder to what degree this is a function of the high cost of Government Printing Office publishing.  That could have driven the price out of bounds.

Or maybe this is just the Obama Administration outsourcing a government function.  At Amazon you can purchase the ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States 2014, for $147.44 only.  It is in a Hardcover edition of 1048 pages (11.3 x 8.6 x 1.9 inches), from Bernan Press.

The data is still there, but on the internet you have to look at different places, rather than in one place.

Regards  —  Cliff


Craig H said...

Combine the least transparent administration swearing it supports transparency with the rise of Google, and QED.

Uncle Sam's poor cousin said...

Since the government no longer provides the data can we conclude it is no longer a part of the public domain? Isn't the example quoted in the blog evidence of some bright person/organization who may have applied for a copyright to the now difficult to obtain US historical data, having published it and now exclusively sell it on the internet. But where is my share? Didn't some of my information make it into the book? Am I not entitled to any profit from it?

Uncle Sam's poor cousin said...

Perhaps the citizens of this country should start a class action suit against the Census Bureau and the Government Printing Office for enabling some to profit from others information without adequate profit representation among the vastly poorer "We the Citizens…"