The Census Bureau has traditionally used a variety of formal mechanisms for obtaining advice. These include panels established by the National Academy of Sciences, formal meetings with data user groups, and public meetings. The Census Advisory Committees however, are chartered specifically to ensure ongoing input from a diverse group of stakeholders (i.e., national, state, local and tribal communities, National Advisory Committee populations, professional associations, etc.), on any number of decennial technical, operational and policy issues.
The Census Scientific Advisory Committee and the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations have been chartered to provide continuing advice and input on census programs.
The activities of the Census Advisory Committees (and all advisory committees throughout the federal government) are subject to the rules and provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.