Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Citizens' Guide to State Services
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Citizen Information Service
State Administration/Revenue: Census - Demographic and Economic Data
P30 US Census Bureau
P29 State Data Center
UMass Donahue Institute,
100 Venture Way, Suite 9
Hadley, MA 01035-9462
The Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research, more commonly referred to as the State Data Center, was established in 1978 by the US Census Bureau to make statistical information more readily available to the public. It maintains an extensive collection of census data on population, housing, education, business, manufacturing, trade, services, government, and agriculture in the state, New England, and the U.S. The Census Bureau, in turn, provides data products, training, technical assistance, and consultation to state data centers across the country, which then offer products and assistance to local community leaders, planners, businesses, researchers, and the general public. The data center is now housed within the university's Donahue Institute, which publishes "MA Benchmarks", a quarterly journal that presents timely information concerning the performance of the state economy, including periodic economic analyses of major geographic regions with in the state, as well as the monthly "MA Current and Leading Economic Indices", that are widely used by policymakers to track the status of the state economy. This integration of the state data center into UMass' Donahue Institute will enhance access to essential data resources for the Institute's network of affiliates and the general public. The data center was previously housed at the Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research in the university's College of Social Behavioral Sciences.
The Massachusetts State Data Center also makes census data available to the public through its affiliate network. State Data Center Affiliates include regional and local government agencies, libraries, colleges, and similar organizations which provide localized assistance and services to data users. The affiliates maintain collections of major Census Bureau reports for the state and for their local service areas. Some affiliates known as Business and Industry Data Centers (BIDC) specialize in economic data publications. A complete listing is available from the Massachusetts State Data Center.
The federal Census Bureau, under the U. S. Department of Commerce, collects general statistical information from individuals and establishments in order to compile statistics for the federal government. It has been taking a population census every ten years as required by the U. S. Constitution since 1790 when the first census was taken. It also conducts censuses of economic activity and state and local governments every five years. Uses of the statistics are: Congressional totals, to determine how many seats each state has in congress; to allocate federal dollars annually for community programs and services; planning by state, local and tribal governments for new school construction, other public buildings, public transportation and infrastructure, location of police departments and many other projects; social service community action projects by community organizations, such as senior lunch programs and child-care centers. The bureau is headquartered in Maryland, with regional offices around the country. It is affiliated with State Data Centers, which take the federal statistics complied by the bureau and use it for state reporting and statistical purposes (see previous entry for more information about the Massachusetts Data Center).