Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Statistical Abstract of the United States

May it RIP. In a previous post I linked to the 2011 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States. I was at a Census conference last month where it was announced that Census will no longer be publishing this series. This was one item that did not survive the budget cuts.

This used to be the go-to source for statistics before the days of Google. While I'm sad to see it go, in the current age, the Abstract while useful for pointing to the data source of the table is a product of the pre-Internet era. We use to put together time series by hand from various editions of the Abstract and today this is no longer necessary. Nor is it necessary to publish this as a hardbound book. I'd like to Census use this opportunity to re-launch the information on the Internet in a more interactive form.

The strength of the Abstract was in its summarized form e.g. by state and a snap-shot for various years. While it would be infeasible to pull all the information together from scratch, it would be great to at least link all the tables to the main data sources and if possible for the user to generate additional time points that are not shown or to re-summarize the data at a different level.

No comments: