Monday, March 21, 2011

Discontinuing Statistical Abstract

For many Statistical Abstract is the first source of statistical information they consult. Data that would take countless hours to compile is often available there in a table with source information included.  It appears that 2012 budget cuts will mean the demise of this statistical bible. Under the topic "Statistical Abstract and the Consolidated Federal Funds Report, and other noted publications from the Statistical Compendia Branch (Census Bureau)" the Government Printing Office (GPO) help site states:
We've heard the Census Bureau has announced it is going to discontinue the Statistical Abstract and the Consolidated Federal Funds Report.
Can you confirm this information?

A representative of the agency states:
"The just released 2012 budget does not include funding for the Statistical Compendia Branch which would mean the elimination of not only the Statistical Abstract, but all titles produced by that branch (State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, County and City Data Book, USA Counties, Quick Facts). No new editions would be produced in print or online. We have already started work on the Statistical Abstract 2012 edition and are still working on the local area products. We will continue to work on these products and have a contingency plan to have the Statistical Abtract 2012 out by the end of September, due to our uncertain future."
The Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR) was proposed for termination in the FY 2012 Budget.  The FY 2010 CFFR will be the last publication. The data can be accessed at

The proposed elimination of the Statistical Compendia Branch originated in the U.S. Census Bureau's Budget Estimates as Presented to Congress, February 2011. Librarians across the country are uniting in protest of the proposed cut and starting a campaign to write Congressmen. *Concerns expressed by librarians include:
  • The abstract aggregates social, economic, and political indicators. It is time-consuming and difficult to compile this information. The multitude of government statistical programs and publications can be difficult for many members of the public to understand and use, much less compile.
  • The abstract provides source information for the statistics provided.
  • The printed abstract includes some copyrighted material that will no longer be easily accessible without it. According to the preface of the 2011 Statistical Abstract (under Statistical Abstract on other media), "The Abstract is available on the Internet and on CD-ROM. Both versions contain the same material as the book, except for a few copyrighted tables for which we did not receive permission to release in these formats."
  • A similar abstract is published by many developed countries around the world as a tool to understand the state of a nation's social, political and economic functioning. Terminating the Statistical Abstract program would lower the United States international standing as free and open society that values unfettered access to information.

*Much of this information was organized into a sample letter by Hailey Mooney.

Access Who Represents Me to find contact information for members of Congress from Texas.

To see a 45 second video prepared by librarians at the University of Texas at San Antonio explaining what you can find in the Statistical Abstract, access