Data collection is at the core of the Census Bureau’s mandate. They are also part of an underfunded federal operation whose work is of vital interest to state and local governments. Governing brought this interesting information to our attention in their article, “A Little Help for the Census Bureau.”

The Census Bureau’s Governments Division collects financial data on the nation’s state governments, its more than 89,000 local governments and its more than 5,500 public pension plans, as well as government employment and organizational data.

Unfortunately this division receives limited funding and even that is periodically disrupted by government shutdowns. The result is decreasing levels of service and a lack of investment in new technologies that could lower the costs of collecting data while improving its quality.

Data quality is key for it to serve its purpose. The quality of data is determined by factors such as accuracy, completeness, reliability, relevance and how up to date it is. Poor-quality data is often pegged as the source of inaccurate reporting and ill-conceived strategies in a variety of companies.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.