Statistical Programs and Standards
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The Office of Management and Budget is charged by statute with coordinating the U.S. Federal statistical system. The Director of OMB has historically delegated these responsibilities to the U.S. Chief Statistician, who heads the Statistical and Science Policy Branch (SSP) within the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Among SSP's responsibilities in this context are the promotion of the quality of Federal statistical information that facilitates evidence-based policies and programs and the viability of the underlying systems that produce that information. This is accomplished by ensuring budget proposals are consistent with system-wide priorities; establishing standards and guidance for data collection and dissemination; assessing agency compliance with those standards; coordinating interagency and international statistical activities; and reviewing Federal statistical programs.
Overview of the Federal Statistical System
Federal statistics are essential to inform private and public decision-making across our Nation. Thirteen principal Federal statistical agencies (agencies whose principal mission is to produce official Federal statistics) are joined by over 100 other Federal programs in statistical activities spanning measurement, information collection, statistical products, data management, and dissemination.
- The Value of Federal Statistics
- The Structure of the Federal Statistical System
- Principal Statistical Agencies and Recognized Statistical Units
Several periodic reports describe the budgets, activities, and products of Federal statistical programs. Learn about them below.
- Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government
- Statistical Programs of the United States Government
Legislation and Related Policy Guidance
Several statutes promote the relevance, accuracy, objectivity, and access to Federal statistical products. Policy memoranda provide guidance on effective implementation. Learn about several of them below.
- Paperwork Reduction Act
- The Information Quality Act
- Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002
M-15-15, Improving Statistical Activities through Interagency Collaboration
M-14-06, Guidance for Providing and Using Administrative Data for Statistical Purposes
Directives and Standards
OMB Statistical Policy Directives identify minimum requirements for Federal principal statistical agencies when they engage in statistical activities. Limited in number, these directives are issued only where necessary to ensure the quality and coordination of Federal official statistics. More typically, guidance is used to describe ways to achieve directives. Selected directives and associated standards appear below.
- Statistical Policy Directive No. 1: Fundamental Responsibilities of Federal Statistical Agencies and Recognized Statistical Units
- Statistical Policy Directive No. 2: Standards and Guidelines for Statistical Surveys
- Statistical Policy Directive No. 3: Compilation, Release, and Evaluation of Principal Federal Economic Indicators
- Statistical Policy Directive No. 4: Release and Dissemination of Statistical Products Produced by Federal Statistical Agencies
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)/Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
- Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)
- Metropolitan Statistical Areas
- Federal Statistical Classification for Race and Ethnicity
World Statistics Day 2015
World Statistics Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010 to recognize the importance of statistics in shaping our societies. October 20, 2015 marks the day around the world in over 100 countries. Learn more about it below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to frequently asked questions regarding Federal survey design and the use of Federal statistics are provided below.