The Census Bureau recently presented their budget estimate to Congress, and they’re proposing to terminate the program that creates the Statistical Abstract of the United States.
According to a representative of the Census: “The just released 2012 budget does not include funding for the Statistical Compendia Branch, which would mean the elimination of not only the Statistical Abstract, but all titles produced by that branch (State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, County and City Data Book, USA Counties, Quick Facts). No new editions would be produced in print or online. We have already started work on the Statistical Abstract 2012 edition and are still working on the local area products. We will continue to work on these products and have a contingency plan to have the Statistical Abstract 2012 out by the end of September, due to our uncertain future.”
While much of the information can be found elsewhere online, the Statistical Compendia Branch added tremendous value by compiling and documenting government statistics. They also negotiated with private publishers to release commercial data (in print only, not online). In addition, there’s no guarantee that other agencies won’t cut their staff that provides no-fee public access to information.