How the Content of the Agricultural and Economic Censuses Is Determined and Used

IMTEC-83-4: Published: Sep 2, 1983. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 1983.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the 1982 agricultural and economic censuses, focusing on how the Bureau of the Census determines their content and how the data are actually used. The law specifies that every 5 years certain activities, such as agriculture and manufacturing, be covered by these censuses.

GAO found that, due to the large volume of data and the variety of data users involved, the Bureau did not attempt to formally verify the need for data. However, it did attempt to design the census questionnaires to enable it to collect accurate and useful data by: (1) reviewing the results of prior censuses to determine questions that elicited incomplete or insignificant responses; (2) soliciting comments from a broad range of data users; and (3) submitting questionnaires for external reviews. These various procedures resulted in few major changes to the questionnaires. GAO found that, for the many Federal and non-Federal organizations that use the data, the economic censuses provide: an integrated database for computing and adjusting major Government economic indicators; input for designing economic and statistical surveys; and a basis for developing marketing strategies in the private sector. The agricultural census is used by Federal and State agencies and the private sector to analyze long-term trends and local area data and contains the only published, consistent county level data. The Department of Agriculture's Statistical Reporting Service, the provider of the most current agricultural information, bases many of its economic indicators and publications on the agricultural census data.

Jul 21, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

May 12, 2016

Apr 14, 2016

Mar 4, 2016

Oct 30, 2015

Sep 9, 2015

Aug 17, 2015

Jul 9, 2015

Apr 27, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here