Don’t Kill America’s Databook

Statistical Abstract of the United States“If you want to know something about America, there are few better places to start than the “Statistical Abstract of the United States.” Published annually by the Census Bureau, the Stat Abstract assembles about 1,400 tables describing our national condition. What share of children are immunized against measles, mumps and rubella? Answer: 92 percent. What state has the highest disposable per capita income? Answer: Connecticut, 33 percent above the national average. How big is the nation’s network of oil pipelines? Answer: 147,000 miles, about triple the length of the Interstate Highway System (46,751 miles).”

“I am a devoted fan of the Stat Abstract.  In four decades of reporting, I have grabbed it thousands of times to find a fact, tutor myself or answer a pressing question. Its figures are usually the start of a story, not the end. They suggest paths of inquiry, including the meaning and reliability of the statistics themselves (otherwise, they can mislead or tell false tales). The Stat Abstract has been a stalwart journalistic ally. With some interruptions, the government has published it since 1878. No more. The Stat Abstract is headed for the chopping block. The 2012 edition, scheduled for publication later this year, will be the last, unless someone saves it.”
And Paul Krugman agrees: Save the Statistical Abstract


Senator Feinstein’s canned responses to Statistical Abstract disappointing and disheartening
Feinstein’s response to concerns about the shutting down of the Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia Branch and killing of the Statistical Abstract have lukewarm at best:

What do you think?




Speak Your Mind