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Increase the Usability of Census Data #86
The Census Bureau should improve the usability of its data so that members of the public can more easily access and analyze it.
Developing new and better data exploration tools for Census data will enable businesses, researchers, policymakers, and the public to make more-informed decisions based on insights from this data.
The Census Bureau’s economic and population data is an invaluable public resource that enables data-driven decision-making at all levels of the public and private sectors. This data is publicly available in open and machine-readable formats, and the Census Bureau maintains a suite of data analysis and visualization tools, however it can nonetheless be difficult for even moderately sophisticated users to access and interpret the data. Uncovering specific data points in Census data often requires a user to have considerable expertise to manipulate a raw dataset to identify relevant data. The Census Bureau has previously recognized the importance of making its data more useful to members of the public, launching the Opportunity Project to serve as a platform for crowdsourced, easy-to-use data analysis and visualization tools focusing on economic opportunity. The Census Bureau should expand on this concept by developing user-friendly data exploration tools for more of its most popular datasets.
-By June 2018, the Census Bureau should conduct focus groups of data users and solicit public feedback about the usability of Census data to identify significant obstacles.