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Deputy Secretary Graves Applauds U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis for Producing Quality, Accurate and Equitable Data During Pandemic


Today, the nation demands data about our people, places and the economy that is more timely, accurate, and granular than ever before. Earlier this month, Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves visited the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) headquarters in Suitland, MD and thanked them for their ongoing commitment to data innovation, quality and accuracy and for providing the nation with quality data to inform and guide the American people.

Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves with U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis leadership.

During a roundtable discussion with leadership from both bureaus, Graves applauded staff for continuing their efforts to innovate despite operational challenges posed by the pandemic. Specifically, Graves praised U.S. Census Bureau leadership and staff for achieving a fair and accurate 2020 Census. 

“The staff of the Census Bureau braved the uncertainties of the pandemic, knocking on hundreds of thousands of doors collecting tens of millions of survey responses to ensure that everyone was counted,” Graves stated to Census Bureau leadership. “On behalf of the Biden Administration, thank you for everything you did to maintain this cornerstone of our democracy.” 

In addition to the 2020 Census, Graves praised the Census Bureau’s ongoing work to provide timely and accurate data on our country’s people and businesses through the Household and Small Business Pulse Surveys. These surveys provide data on the social and economic effects of COVID-19 on American households and businesses and are disseminated in near real-time to inform federal and state response and recovery planning.

“These surveys have been a critical component of this Administration’s work to respond to and recover form the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Graves. “This timely data is helping us meet our goals for a more equitable recovery, and highlighting disparities in access to housing, food and employment among people of color.” 

Graves also stressed the invaluable importance of these surveys in helping the Administration to ensure they meet vaccination goals and understand when it is safe to ease restrictions.

Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves at the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) headquarters in Suitland, MD.

Throughout the roundtable discussion, Graves heard from leadership and experts at both agencies on how to ensure that equity is centered in data collection, what innovations should be invested in to improve future data, and how we can protect the privacy of survey respondents while still providing accurate data, especially to marginalized groups.

Graves also praised both bureaus for maintaining all data security protocols and delivering high-quality Principal Federal Economic Indicators on time and when they were most critically needed – during a pandemic and an historically deep and unusual recession. Both Census and BEA produce some of the world's most closely watched statistics, including U.S. gross domestic product, new orders for manufactured goods, foreign trade and investment stats, and data on housing and retail sales.

Graves also discussed the important role Census and BEA play in measuring global value chains. Researchers from both bureaus are building links between BEA and Census data to create a more robust picture of globally distributed supply chains.

The Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis are part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Census Bureau mission is to serve as the nation's leading provider of quality data about its people and economy. BEA promotes a better understanding of the U.S. economy by providing the most timely, relevant, and accurate economic accounts data in an objective and cost-effective manner.