Without data collection and analysis from the 13 principal U.S. statistical agencies, we would not have key insights into public health, economic trends, community issues, public safety, the environment, or countless other facets that are vital to our society.
In 2019, Stanton partnered with The American Statistical Association (ASA) to form Count on Stats, an initiative designed to elevate the public discourse about federal statistics and the value of the system. At the time, general distrust in the federal government was increasing and high-level attacks against official data posed a threat to a federal statistical system that generates data informing decision makers from Wall Street to Main Street to the halls of Congress and beyond.
Count on Stats was developed to defend the value of the federal statistical system and to build awareness of the importance, reliability, and trustworthiness of government statistics through proactive media engagement, journalist education, social media community building and Hill-focused communication. The campaign advocates for investment in our nation’s data infrastructure, a large, decentralized network of statistical agencies, units, and programs that work together to measure the economy, count the population, monitor public safety, and track student learning.
Count on Stats is an outspoken proponent for federal statisticians and the gold-standard products they produce, carrying out meetings with Members of the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees to advocate for increased federal investments in the nation’s data infrastructure. The campaign creates and hosts an archive of resources to help journalists, statisticians, and the general population better understand the history and processes of the federal statistical system. Additionally, the campaign has successfully elevated the voices of current and former federal statisticians from nearly three-quarters of the federal statistical agencies, amplifying their stories and views across media and social media verticals.
An ongoing journalist education initiative most recently featured a well-attended webinar for the members of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) and secured the White House Senior Statistician, Robert Sivinski, to speak to senior economic journalists during a fellowship program.
To engage a broader audience of federal statistics users and others in the statistical community, the Count on Stats team created a monthly quiz to test knowledge of the system and increase awareness of the many ways federal statistics factor into decision-making at all levels in our government and society. The effort is generating consistent community engagement and media coverage and anticipates future pivots to increase awareness.