Written by: Avi Bender
From the time the U.S. Census Bureau became a permanent agency in 1902, it has been known as “the nation’s fact finder.” At the time, and for many decades thereafter, it released the results of its censuses and surveys in bulky paper volumes, which required users to make a trip to a library to access the findings. How far we’ve come! Today, our agency truly enters the 21st century with the release of its first-ever mobile app, sending economic data, updates and the schedule of upcoming statistical releases directly to your tablets and smartphones.
The Census Bureau is now using 21st century technology to meet our centuries-old mission — making the statistics that define our growing, changing nation more accessible to the public than ever before. The America’s Economy mobile app is part of the Census Bureau’s digital transformation effort to provide the general public and the government workforce with access to information “anywhere, anytime, on any device,” a key goal of the Federal Digital Strategy. The overall transformation effort at the Census Bureau now allows for Internet responses to 60 different surveys.
The app gives you the ability to view trends over the past few years, add alerts to your calendars, and readily share the news on both Facebook and Twitter. Today’s release comes on the heels of our July 26 release of our first-ever public Application Programming Interface (API), which crowdsources solutions to users’ needs. In the first three weeks since its release, users generated 24 million data requests, an average of 18 per second, and 860 developers received keys to access these data sets. The API enables developers to make their own apps, using two of the Census Bureau’s most popular data sets, the American Community Survey and the 2010 Census.
With the release of the API, the mobile app and other forward-looking online communications improvements, the Census Bureau is meeting the goals of the President’s digital strategy to make information more transparent and customer-centered.
And as important, the infrastructure that supports these new public-facing efforts is enabled by the Census Bureau shared services strategy. Shared infrastructure, security, data collection and dissemination provide the key technological building blocks for a more open government.
For more information and a link to download the app, click here.