Data are another casualty of the government shutdown. The federal government is the largest producer and disseminator of data in the nation, but many existing data sources are inaccessible and more will not be disseminated during the shutdown. Visiting the Census Bureau’s website, users are greeted with the following message: “Due to the lapse in government funding, census.gov sites, services, and all online survey collection requests will be unavailable until further notice.”
Without access to data, much needed research throughout the nation will be delayed. If the shutdown delays the release of HUD and Census data, NLIHC, too, may experience delays in disseminating such reports as Out of Reach and updated State Housing Profiles and Congressional District Profiles.
Provided below are federal agencies with data completely unavailable, those that are not producing new data but have made archived data available, and those that continue to make new data available. Although not a complete list, it provides the status of the most frequently used data sources.
Federal Data Sources Completely Shutdown
- Census Bureau: No new or archived Census Bureau data are available. The 2010-2012 American Community Survey (ACS) three-year estimates and the 2012 one-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files were scheduled for release on October 24. However, the shutdown makes it highly unlikely. NLIHC uses these datasets to produce Out of Reach and State and Congressional District Housing Profiles.
- Department of Agriculture (USDA): Home to rural housing and food stamp usage data, the USDA website is unavailable. Its homepage reports, “Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available. After funding has been restored, please allow some time for this website to become available again.”
- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA): Part of the Department of Commerce, BEA’s goal is to “promote a better understanding of the U.S. economy by providing the most timely, relevant, and accurate economic data in an objective and cost-effective manner.” Among other statistics, it provides the Gross Domestic Product. All BEA data and its e-file system are unavailable.
- Institute for Educational Science (IES): The Department of Education’s primary research arm, IES collects and disseminates data on K-12 and higher education nationwide. Its site, educational program data, and longitudinal studies are unavailable.
Federal Data Sources Online but Not Updated
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): HUD’s website will not be updated during the shutdown. HUD was able to post the Final FY14 Fair Market Rents (FMRs) prior to October 1.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): BLS is responsible for the nation’s monthly jobs report and provides the best understanding of U.S. labor market conditions. During the shutdown, its website will “not collect data, issue reports, or respond to public inquiries.”
- Government Accountability Office (GAO): GAO investigates and reports on the efficiency and efficacy of public programs and agencies. It will not produce anything new during the shutdown.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): New statistics on infectious diseases, mortality rates, and other public health indicators will not be available through the CDC or the National Center for Health Statistics until the government reopens.
- Congressional Budget Office (CBO): Largely shut down, CBO will not produce the Monthly Budget Review, the nation’s balance sheet, while the government is closed. Staff analyzing legislation under active Congressional consideration continue to work.
Data Sources That Appear Unaffected
- THOMAS and Congress.gov: The Library of Congress is closed to researchers and the public, but THOMAS and Congress.gov, both of which provide data on congressional records, are available and updated.
- Housing Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA): Used for mortgage analyses, the HMDA site remains accessible.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA): FHFA data, including the House Price Index report, remain unaffected largely because the agency is not funded by Congress.
The Pew Research Center has published a blog post on alternative ways to find old Census Bureau data during the shutdown. Read Pew’s “How to Get Census Data during the Government Shutdown” blog post: http://bit.ly/1hIpMPq