Statistical Programs & 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 delegates these responsibilities to the OIRA Administrator. Among the responsibilities of OIRA’s Statistical and Science Policy office, headed by the Chief Statistician of the United States, 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 and three recognized statistical units (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.
Several periodic reports describe the budgets, activities, and products of Federal statistical programs.
- Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government
- Fiscal Year 2024: Leveraging Federal Statistics to Strengthen Evidence-Based Decision-Making
- Fiscal Year 2023: Leveraging Federal Statistics to Strengthen Evidence-Based Decision-Making
- 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.
- Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
- Information Quality Act
- Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018
- Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2018 (CIPSEA)
- Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA)
- M-15-15, Improving Statistical Activities through Interagency Collaboration
- M-14-06, Guidance for Providing and Using Administrative Data for Statistical Purposes
- M-19-23, Phase 1 Implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018: Leaming Agendas, Personnel, and Planning Guidance
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.
- Directive No. 1: Fundamental Responsibilities of Federal Statistical Agencies and Recognized Statistical Units
- Directive No. 2: Standards and Guidelines for Statistical Surveys
- Directive No. 3: Compilation, Release, and Evaluation of Principal Federal Economic Indicators
- Directive No. 4: Release and Dissemination of Statistical Products Produced by Federal Statistical Agencies
- Directive No. 7: Metropolitan Statistical Areas
- Directive No. 8: North American Industry Classification System: Classification of Establishments
- NAICS 2022
- NAICS 2017
- More information can be found at: Census NAICS
- Directive No. 10: Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)
- More information can be found at: BLS Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)
- Directive No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to frequently asked questions regarding Federal survey design and the use of Federal statistics are provided below.
- Guidance on Agency Survey and Statistical Information Collections
- Flexibilities and Best Practices for Implementing the 1997 Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, And Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (Statistical Policy Directive No. 15)
- Recommendations on the Best Practices for the Collection of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data on Federal Statistical Surveys