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The demise of the Statistical Abstract and other critical Census titles

If you’ve been on govdoc-l over the last couple of days, you’ve no doubt read about the demise of the US Census’ Statistical Abstract of the United States, published every year since 1878 and one of the most heavily used items in libraries across the US. According to the Department of Commerce’s 2012 Congressional Budget Justification document (see pp 82-92), the entire Statistical Compendia Branch as well as the Federal Financial Statistics Program of the US Census is slated to be defunded. Not only will the Statistical Abstract no longer be published, but it also means the elimination of ALL titles produced by that branch (State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, County and City Data Book, Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR), Federal Aid to States (FAS) etc.).

Please write/phone/email/fax your representatives NOW and let them know how critical these publications are to an informed citizenry and to your daily library work. Congress.org has a handy page that will allow you to write all of your representatives at once. Please also forward this message to any library listservs to which you subscribe and send to your friends and family.

UPDATE 3/15/11: In reading further, this looks to be a decision by Census to shift funds to a new program that will use new ways to collect and disseminate data. But Census still seems to be putting the StatAb cart before the new data dissemination horse here. Census Bureau will first kill StatAb etc and *then* initiate a pilot project to see how this new method of disseminating data will work. The new program will not be in place for 1-2 years and in the meantime the American public will not have access to the easy to use and handy Statistical Abstract.

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