The U.S. Census Bureau has launched a new tool — dubbed the Census COVID-19 Hub — designed to help guide the nation as it begins recovery efforts from the sweeping COVID-19 pandemic by providing economic and demographic data.
Platforms like the new data.census.gov provide access to the full breadth of available data, but this tool puts key information for this unprecedented and particular task at users’ fingertips.
Measuring America’s people, places, and economy is core to the Census Bureau’s mission. Platforms like the new data.census.gov provide access to the full breadth of available data, but this tool puts key information for this unprecedented and particular task at users’ fingertips.
The COVID-19 Hub released April 23 serves that purpose.
This new tool leverages Esri’s ArcGIS platform and services like the Living Atlas to present selected data to inform these recovery efforts. The information is also available in downloadable databases and data layers that geographic information system (GIS) specialists can integrate into their own maps and dashboards.
The COVID-19 Hub features data on more than 30 demographic, socio-economic and housing variables from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS); the number of businesses, employment and payroll from its County Business Patterns survey (CBP); and data on self-employed people from its Nonemployer Statistics (NES) program.
Users can browse state and county stats in interactive dashboards and maps.
The hub provides accurate, trusted info officials leading recovery efforts can use to identify these vulnerable populations and communities.
The hub also contains data officials can use to help the nation’s businesses bounce back. The Census Bureau provides key stats on nearly every type of business in America; the COVID-19 Hub in particular provides details on 20 selected industries as well as for all businesses.
Owners of businesses and their workers are among groups designated for relief in recovery stimulus packages. The hub can help officials identify areas that may be most affected and need the most help.
Some discussions have revolved around the differences between reopening businesses in rural and urban states and counties.
Hub data can help guide these discussions.
Customer input is a critical way of ensuring our data and tools meet users’ needs, so the hub also provides a feedback link to help guide planned updates.
For example, consumer feedback is key to our decision to include Nonemployer Statistics in the hub. It will also inform future updates such as adding Business Formation Statistics.
Nonemployer or self-employed stats highlight the importance these types of businesses (like home child day care centers and independent real estate agents) play in our economy and why recovery efforts should support them as well as their employer business counterparts.
BFS data provide insight into the number and type of new business formations each week and the impact the pandemic may be having on them.
Periodic updates to the COVID-19 Hub will not only include new and expanded data, but will also refresh the ACS and CBP info.
Andrew Hait is a survey statistician in the Census Bureau’s Economic Directorate.
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