On October 31, the U.S. Census Bureau within the Department of Commerce issued a request for public comment related to the 2014 Content Review of the American Community Survey (ACS). According to the Federal Register Notice, the 2014 review “is the most comprehensive effort ever undertaken by the Census Bureau to review content on the survey, seeking to understand which federal programs use the information collected by each question, the justification for each question, and assess how the Census Bureau might reduce respondent burden.” The review looked at the ACS’s 72 questions and proposed removal of seven from the annual questionnaire. Among the seven questions slated for elimination is the question on “Undergraduate Field of Degree.” This potential move raises concerns for many in the social and behavioral sciences community, as well as the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, which uses the data collected via the “field of degree” question in its efforts to measure and track the U.S. science and engineering workforce. The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS) has already submitted a letter outlining its concerns with the proposed changes.
More information can be found in the Federal Register Notice. Comments are due December 30, 2014.