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How is the Census Bureau Implementing the Evidence Act?

How is the Census Bureau Implementing the Evidence Act?

Census Bureau Evidence Act Officials

In accordance with the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) and associated Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance (M-19-23), and in support of the President's Management Agenda's strategic goal of Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset, the U.S. Census Bureau has designated the following officials and governing body:

  • Chief Data Officer: Ron Jarmin, Deputy Director 
  • Statistical Officer: Sallie Keller, Chief Scientist and Associate Director, Research and Methodology
  • Evaluation Officer: Barbara Downs, Center for Economic Studies
  • Open Data Ombudsman: Zachary Whitman, Data Ombudsman and Program Manager, Center for Enterprise Dissemination Services and Consumer Innovation (CEDSCI)

The Census Data Governance Board (see charter) is chaired by the Chief Data Officer with membership that includes the Statistical Official, Evaluation Officer, senior level staff, and appropriate subject matter experts to serve as a decision-making body to establish data governance policies and priorities consistent with the existing laws, regulations, and policies.

Evidence Act Action Items

We are implementing the Evidence Act action items issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), with guidance from the Department of Commerce.

The Federal Data Strategy action plan identifies several milestones for Bureaus to complete that are essential for establishing processes, building capacity, and aligning existing efforts. The Census Bureau follows the guidance from OMB as well as the Department of Commerce for implementing the Federal Data Strategy. Census responses to recent deliverables are as follows:



  • Helped pilot and create ResearchDataGov, a new one-stop web portal and application system for discovering and requesting restricted microdata across federal statistical agencies.
  • Census Data Skills Catalogue (Action 13)
  • Learning Agendas
  • Established the Census Data Governance Board with staff to support evidence act activities
  • Completed a  data maturity model and data skills assessment and provided input to several other Department-level data calls (e.g. Data Ethics Framework (Action 14), Phase 2 guidance on Evaluations, etc.)

The Census Bureau will continue to expand and build upon these efforts for future action plans that will support the implementation of the strategy over the next decade.

Overall Department progress for the items highlighted under each of the implementation Phases 1-4 below and other related milestones in support of the evidence act can be found on the Federal Data Strategy progress website.

Phase 1: Learning Agendas, Personnel, and Planning – Action Items

  • Learning Agendas

  • Chief Data Officers

  • Evaluation Officer

  • Statistical Officials

  • Agency Data Governance Boards

  • Chief Data Officer Council

  • Evaluation Officer Council

  • Interagency Council on Statistical Policy

  • Agency Evaluation Plans

  • Capacity Assessments

  • Open Data Plans

Phase 2: Open Data Access and Management – Action Items

  • Make Data Open by Default

  • Comprehensive Data Inventory

  • Federal Data Catalogue

  • Repository of Tools and Best Practices

Phase 3: Data Access for Statistical Purposes – Action Items

  • Make Agency Data Assets Available to Statistical Units

  • Expand Users’ Secure Access to Data Assets through Statistical Units

  • Standardize Application Process for Accessing Data Assets

  • Codify Statistical Unit Responsibilities

Phase 4: Program Evaluation – Action Items

  • Program Evaluation Standards and Best Practices

  • Program Evaluation Skills and Competencies (with OPM)

Ongoing Implementation and Reporting

  • Budget Cycles 

  • Information Resource Management Plans 

  • Performance Plans 

  • Strategic Plans 

  • Federal Data Strategy Annual Action Plans 

  • Biennial Report 

  • Statistical Programs Annual Report 

  • Regulatory Planning 

  • Information Collection Review


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