Call for Steering Committee Nominations

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Nominations are now open!

The Steering Committee is looking for colleagues who want to take the role of Census partner TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

Nominate yourself — or someone else! Employees of State Lead Agencies and Coordinating Agencies are eligible to run. The current Steering Committee has membership from all regions; large and small states; state agencies and universities; old-hands-at-this-stuff and newbies too.

The Steering Committee consists of nine members, selected to represent the member agencies of the State Data Center Program. Three members’ terms end each year, and three members are elected (or re-elected).

New Steering Committee members elected this winter will begin their terms in February 2018. (* We expect this will be an in-person meeting; details to be determined!)

A nomination should include a brief biography (three to four sentences) and concise answers to the following questions:

  1. Brief biography: Where do you work? Any special professional interest? Relevant related professional roles?
  2. What goals or special perspective would you bring as a Steering Committee member?
  3. What is your vision for the SDC network and our partnership with the Census Bureau?
  4. What can the SDC network do to add value for the data-using public?
  • If you are nominating yourself, please answer all 4 questions.
  • If you are nominating someone else – with their permission! – please answer questions 1 and 2.

Please e-mail your nomination and responses to Todd Graham ( by December 21, 2017.

The real story.

If you are elected to the Steering Committee, you are signing up for three trips a year to Washington. The meetings are generally in February, April, and late summer. These trips are usually 2-3 days. The Census Bureau fully pays for your transportation, food, and lodging. 

There are also monthly Steering Committee conference calls, and an expectation of volunteered time on national initiatives. Steering Committee members need to work for organizations that support these time commitments.

Upcoming election.

The Steering Committee election will be held in January. Every lead agency will have one ballot.

Additional details on Steering Committee eligibility, term, and election can be found in the SDC Steering Committee By-Laws, section 4.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Todd Graham or any member of the Steering Committee. A listing of current Steering Committee members can be found at:

What does the SDC Steering Committee do?

The Steering Committee consists of nine members from across the country, selected to represent the members agencies of the State Data Center Program.

The Steering Committee advises the Census Bureau on the administration and operation of the State Data Center Program; assists the Census Bureau in planning decennial censuses, the American Community Survey, economic censuses, censuses of governments and various other surveys and programs; works with the Census Bureau to plan and conduct the Annual Training Conference; and improves the flow of information and ideas among the individual member agencies and between the member agencies and the Census Bureau.

2018 Gustafson Award nominations

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The SDC Steering Committee is seeking nominations for the Gustafson Award. If you know a SDC agency or person within a SDC that has been doing great work and deserves some recognition, please nominate them!

The Gustafson Award was established in 2012 to remember one of our dear colleagues, Randy Gustafson from the Tennessee SDC, who also served on the SDC Steering Committee. Randy was a wonderful person and a big part of the SDC family. The Gustafson Award was created in his memory to honor outstanding contributions to the SDC network.

The Gustafson Award nomination form is here: Gustafson Award Nomination Form

Anyone can submit a nomination. Nominations are due to Pam Schenker or Gregg Bell, by November 17, 2017.

The winner will be announced during the SDC Annual Meeting in April 2018. (Dates for the SDC Annual Meeting have not been finalized.)

Past awardees:

  • 2013 – Pam Schenker, FL
  • 2014 – Julie Hoang, CA
  • 2015 – John Blodgett, MO
  • 2016 – David Drozd, NE
  • 2017 – The Minnesota Population Center, specifically the project team that designed the National Historical Geographic Info System, including Wendy Thomas, Steven Ruggles, and Mark Lindberg, MN


Letter on the 2018 SDC Annual Training Conference

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Here is a letter from the steering committee, discussing our continuing partnership with Census Bureau and the 2018 SDC Annual Training Conference. The letter was sent October 23, 2017.

Letter on the 2018 SDC Annual Training Conference

Letter commenting on the Participant Statistical Area Program (PSAP)

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Here is a letter from the steering committee, commenting on the Participant Statistical Area Program (PSAP), in response to the Commerce Department’s Federal Register Notice. The letter was sent September 20, 2017.

Letter commenting on the Participant Statistical Area Program (PSAP)

Letter commenting on the LEHD Program

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Here is a letter from the steering committee, commenting on the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program (LEHD), in response to the Commerce Department’s Federal Register Notice. The letter was sent October 23, 2017.

Letter commenting on the LEHD Program

Census Bureau’s partnership with states and territories

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The US Census Bureau has multiple efforts that involve states and territories. Three permanent, ongoing partnerships are State Data Centers, the Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates, and the Governors’ Liaisons Network. These partnerships enable the Census Bureau to reach state leaders and stakeholders, transmit data to the states, improve data collection, and extend expert guidance and access to Census data and products.

State Data Centers

  • Established in 1978 for data assistance to state and local governments and the general public.
  • 56 state leads representing each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and US Island Areas.
  • Supported by 1,600 coordinating agencies and affiliates, which include local governments, university research centers, libraries and nonprofits.
  • Members are premier partners who extend Census’s reach and provide Census products, data, and training resources to interested audiences and the general public.
  • Support various Bureau programs including BAS, LUCA, Building Permits, and Census of Governments.
  • Provide feedback on data users’ needs and operational issues.
  • At the Census Bureau, the SDC program is coordinated by the Customer Liaison and Marketing Services Office.

Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates

  • Established in 1967 to assist the Census Bureau with state and local population and housing unit estimates.
  • 56 members representing each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and US Island Areas.
  • Members are demographic experts who provide their local knowledge and insight to the Population Estimates Program, the media, and the public.
  • FSCPEs supply vital statistics, information about group quarters (such as college dorms or prisons), and housing unit components.
  • FSCPEs support efforts to improve the accuracy and timeliness of Census Bureau estimates by reviewing and providing comments on the population and housing unit estimates and methodology.
  • Participate in Decennial Count Review.
  • At the Census Bureau, the FSCPE program is coordinated by the Population Division.

Governors’ Liaisons Network

  • Staff or appointees of governors, representing the governors of each state, Puerto Rico, and US Island Areas, and the mayor of District of Columbia.
  • During the 2020 Census cycle, the Governors’ Liaisons are a conduit for official communication with the governors.
  • Communications include news of upcoming phases of preparation and Census activities in states, as well as invitations for state participation in 2020 Census partnership programs and geographic programs.
  • At the Census Bureau, the Governors’ Liaisons Network is coordinated by the Intergovernmental Affairs Office.

The roles of State Data Centers, FSCPEs, and Governor’s Liaisons may be overlapping. In some states, a single office may participate in two or three of these roles.

The map below identifies states and territories where the State Data Center lead agency also has staff who serve as FSCPE members (red), or Governor’s Liaisons (blue), or both (purple).

Source: State Data Centers survey, October 2017, and  This information is self-reported by SDC state leads. Information may change over time as governors reassign roles. Please notify our webteam of corrections.

Refresher on Census’s embargo data access program

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Many of you have embargo data access privileges with the Census Bureau. This post is a refresher on the rules associated with the embargo access program.

Your embargo data access privileges allow you to download, review and analyze data prior to its public release. This early access enables you to provide relevant and accurate assistance. Access privileges also allow you to prepare a local news release to coincide with the Census Bureau’s release.

If you have embargo data access privileges, this access is for YOU ALONE. It is NOT to be shared with anyone.

Within your SDC, if there are co-workers who need embargo access, these co-workers can request their own embargo data access login. To discuss this possibility, please contact any member of the SDC Steering Committee.

Some SDC coordinating agencies have access. Please share this email with them, as they are subject to the same rules.

With this access, certain rules MUST be followed. The embargo policy is online, here:

Embargo access is granted on an individual basis only and cannot be shared with unapproved colleagues or associates ….

Embargoed news releases and data files may not be released to the public by any means (including print, broadcast, Internet, podcast, blogs, or in any other form) before the specified date and time of release. Failure to adhere to this embargo policy will result in the removal of embargo privileges of the reporter (or SDC participant) as follow:

  1. First breach – six-month suspension of embargo privileges.
  2. Subsequent breach – one-year suspension of embargo privileges. Reinstatement must be requested in writing …

The Census Bureau, through its Public Information Office, reserves the right to deny access to embargoed information to any entity that abuses embargo privileges.

If an embargo is broken, the Census Bureau will immediately release the data to the public and a notification will be sent alerting data users that the information is now available to the public.

The Associate Director for Communications or his designee has final approval on all matters pertaining to embargo access.

If you have questions about appropriate use of embargo data, please ask Census Bureau staff.

Finally, if you know of co-workers or SDC coordinating or affiliate colleagues who need embargo access, please contact any member of the SDC Steering Committee to discuss.

Thanks for your attention to this!



The SDC Network Steering Committee