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Changing the Way We Do Business

Thu Mar 06 2014
John H. Thompson
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Since 1790, we have collected the data that tell America’s story—about our people, places and economy. However, as technology changes, we are updating our processes at every level, including how we best deliver the resulting statistics to you.

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You may have already noticed these changes, through our website, our application programming interface, our Web and mobile apps, and other data dissemination efforts. Guided by customer feedback, we are investigating a range of ways to improve our data dissemination capabilities at the Census Bureau.

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As we continue to improve our processes, we are excited to announce that we will be seeking a Presidential Innovation Fellow. The Census Bureau collects and produces a wealth of geospatial, demographic, and economic data resources, and is seeking an individual to conduct innovative research that will draw upon these diverse data sets to produce products and tools that support increased economic growth and further the planning for the 2020 Census.

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The Presidential Innovation Fellow’s Data Innovation effort focuses on making the government’s information resources more accessible for the public and entrepreneurs to create new products, services and jobs by bringing innovators from outside the government to work in agencies for specific three- to six-month periods.

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The Presidential Innovation Fellow is just another way we are changing how we do business. In a few weeks, you will see the launch of the new census.gov, which is now available to preview in beta. In addition, you may be familiar with some of our other digital initiatives, such as the ability to respond to many of our surveys online, including the American Community Survey.

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New data tools, such as Census Explorer, make it easier to find the statistics you need. Our API is one example of how we are making our information more flexible and customizable so that developers can create their own tools, fueled by Census Bureau statistics. In addition, we have released two mobile apps, America’s Economy and dwellr, which allow you to quickly access economic and demographic statistics right from your smartphone and make data-driven decisions.

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You may have a favorite among our other tools, such as QuickFacts, which averages 1 million visitors per month, or OntheMap, which provides information on where people work. Our recently updated Flows Mapper is another mapping tool that allows you to select a county in the U.S. and view the outbound, inbound and net migration flows for that county. Similar to QuickFacts, Easy Stats uses the Census Bureau’s API to give you quick and easy access to selected statistics collected through the American Community Survey. I encourage you to visit our website and explore the variety of demographic and economic statistics available through these tools.

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I’m really excited about the prospect of welcoming a Presidential Innovation Fellow, who can leverage the great tools we at the Census Bureau have made available and help us to innovate further to provide statistics that help businesses grow to fuel economic growth and job creation.

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