Today the U.S. Census Bureau released the first set of estimates from the National Experimental Wellbeing Statistics (NEWS) project, an experimental data product that uses a new methodology to calculate income and poverty estimates.
The NEWS project is a research-driven trial with the aim of looking at different ways to enhance how we currently produce income and poverty statistics. Among the innovations — using a broader set of data sources as well as conducting additional statistical analysis to produce the new income, poverty and resource estimates for the year 2018. The year 2018 was chosen as a proof of concept and first step in the work for version 1.0 of the NEWS project.
This release looks at the economic “wellbeing” indicators reported annually by the Census Bureau, including median household income, poverty and inequality.
A new web page will serve as a resource for those interested in this project. This resource includes:
- Data tables of new income and poverty estimates for 2018 (national level only).
- A working paper with:
- A detailed description of methodology.
- Data sources used (types of administrative records, etc.).
- The statistical analysis conducted.
- Future goals of the NEWS project.
Among the goals of the NEWS project is getting valuable stakeholder feedback. We are being as transparent as possible with the methodology, data and code in order to elicit the best possible input from data users. Census Bureau statisticians will use that feedback to further refine the methodology and improve the product. To provide comment or feedback, email <Census.NEWSProject@census.gov>.
After continued study, testing and rigorous analysis, this research may help inform how we produce some of the statistics included in future official reports on income and poverty in the United States.
There is no set time period yet for version 2.0 of the NEWS project, but we will release updates as progress is made. Census Bureau statisticians anticipate future versions will include expanded income and resource statistics, as well as additional vintage years and smaller geographies such as state and county level.
Innovation is core to the Census Bureau’s mission, and we hope this project leads to further enhancement and expansion of the quality data we continue to produce.