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Although every effort is made in all phases of collection, processing, and tabulation to minimize errors, the survey is subject to nonsampling error, such as the inability to obtain data for every variable for all units, inaccuracies in classification, mistakes in keying and coding, and coverage errors.
While the data records are ultimately from state pension sources, the classification of finances among the different categories is entirely the responsibility of the Census Bureau. Therefore, classification might not reflect the actual classification or presentation as requested by the various state pension respondents or what is presented in a state pension system's own financial statements.
Although the original sources for pension statistics are accounting records of governments, the data derived from them are purely statistical in nature. Consequently, the Census Bureau statistics on government pensions cannot be used as financial statements or to measure a pension system's fiscal condition.
The Census Bureau program develops these data to measure the economic activity of state and local governments in general. The definitions used in Census Bureau statistics about governments can vary considerably from definitions applied in standard accounting reports.
Overall Unit Response Rate
The unit response rate for the 2012 Census of Governments: Finance - Survey of Public Pensions: State-Administered Defined Benefit Data was 100.0 percent. The response rate was calculated as the number of responses received divided by the number of parent governments mailed minus the number of governments that were determined to be out of scope.
Total Quantity Response Rate
The total quantity response rate for the 2012 Census of Governments: Finance - Survey of Public Pensions: State-Administered Defined Benefit Data was 100.0 percent. The total quantity response rate was calculated as the value of "total holdings and investments" reported divided by the estimated total value of "total holdings and investments" of those units mailed, minus those systems that were determined to be out of scope.
For further information, please refer to the 2012 Census of Governments: Finance — Survey of Public Pensions: State-Administered Defined Benefit Data 2012 Survey Methodology. [26KB]