For many, Statistical Abstract is the first source consulted for statistical information. This crucial reference source has been in existence since 1878. It is available online and in print. It appears that 2012 federal budget cuts will mean the demise of this statistical compendia. Under the topic "Statistical Abstract and the Consolidated Federal Funds Report, and other noted publications from the Statistical Compendia Branch (Census Bureau)" the Government Printing Office (GPO) help site states:
We've heard the Census Bureau has announced it is going to discontinue the Statistical Abstract and the Consolidated Federal Funds Report. Can you confirm this information?
If this source goes away, there is no comparable, comprehensive source to take its place. Under the current proposal, both the print and the online version will disappear because the Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia Branch will be eliminated .
Some have suggested that perhaps other sites/sources could fill the void if Statistical Abstract goes away. However, many of the other statistical sources that are currently available cite Statistical Abstract as the source for information. Additionally, one source mentioned as a possible replacement, Data.gov, is in fact also at risk (see Free Government Information blog posting).
Researchers and librarians across the country are uniting in protest of the proposed cut and starting to contact Congressional representatives. Concerns expressed include:
- The Abstract aggregates social, economic, and political indicators. It is time-consuming and difficult to compile this information from other sources.
- The Abstract provides source information for the statistics provided which allows researchers to easily consult other relevant topical information.
- The printed Abstract includes some copyrighted material that will no longer be easily accessible.
- A similar statistical publication is published by many countries around the world as a means of providing access to understanding the state of a nation's social, political and economic functioning. Terminating this publication would mean that the United States no longer demonstrated value in a free and open society with easy access to statistical information.
There are several ways that you can express your concern:
(1) Join a Save the U.S. Statistical Abstract facebook group
(2) Sign an online petition
(3) Write a letter to your representative (check this blog posting or this American Library Association Action Alert for a sample letter)