Requests for Comment on Federal Data Collections

Economists’ capacity to produce meaningful, reproducible, impactful analyses is a function of their access to current, reliable, detailed data. The Federal government is a major supplier of data used in economic research – particularly via the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Bureau of Economic Analysis.

When Federal statistical agencies want to revise existing data collections or launch new ones, they are required by the Paperwork Reduction Act to clear their plans through the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). As part of this process, agencies issue requests for comment on planned changes in data collections. Requests may solicit input on specific survey questions, data collection methods, plans for data release and access, or methods of preventing disclosure of respondents’ identities. Or they may ask general questions about the utility of the data and how it could be improved. Some open requests for comment on data collections that may be of broad-based interest are listed on this page. Additional requests are posted on EconSpark.

In the experience of AEA’s Committee on Economic Statistics (AEAStat), knowledgeable comments from AEA members are highly valued by federal agencies, especially when they address data-collection features that complicate researchers’ ability to use the data to answer important questions, and when they identify changes that will improve the utility of the data for meeting information needs. To help AEA members make the most of opportunities to comment, AEAStat has developed a primer on the public comment process, which explains the why, what, and how of providing comments.

Please consider replying to requests that are up your alley! Your knowledgeable, thoughtful, actionable comments can help improve data quality, increase data access, open up new research opportunities, and contribute to ever-more robust economic research.  

Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (deadline June 19, 2023)
May 19 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is soliciting comments to OMB concerning the proposed revision of the “National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997” (NLSY97). Conducted since 1997, the NLSY97 is a nationally representative sample of persons who were ages 12-17 at the time of the first interview in 1997. Initially conducted annually, the interviews have been conducted biennially since Round 16. Round 21 interviews are planned for September 2023 to June 2024. The Round 21 questionnaire will be largely the same as the Round 20 questionnaire, expect that new questions are planned for: the location of work and job search; whether the employer requires a non-disclosure agreement; chronic health conditions relating to heart conditions, blood sugar, and high blood pressure; coronavirus vaccine recipiency; use of pain medications; and adverse childhood experiences. Some streamlining of the questionnaire is planned to make the survey less burdensome for respondents, including removal of questions about job value, sexual activity and birth control, criminal background checks, and internet access.

National Center for Health Statistics, new Rapid Surveys System (deadline June 26, 2023)
May 19 -- The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) invites comments to the Office of Management of the Budget by June 26, 2023, regarding the proposed new Rapid Surveys System (RSS). The RSS is a new survey system intended to complement the current household survey systems at NCHS. It has three major goals: (1) to provide CDC and other partners with time-sensitive data of known quality about emerging and priority health concerns; (2) to use these data collections to continue NCHS's evaluation of the quality of public health estimates generated from commercial online panels; and (3) to improve methods to communicate the appropriateness of public health estimates generated from commercial online panels. The RSS will have four rounds of data collection each year, with two contractors with probability panels implementing survey. A cross-sectional nationally representative sample will be drawn from the online probability panel maintained by each of the contractors. Each round of data collection will collect a minimum of 2,000 responses per quarter, with possibilities of scaling up to a total of 56,000 responses per year according to needs.

  • For additional information, please see the Federal Register entry or EconSpark posting.
  • To see the planned Phase 1 survey questionnaire, go to this site, and click on “IC List”
  • The deadline for submitting comments to OMB is June 26, 2023. Go to this site and click “Comment.”

National Health for Health Statistics, National Electronic Health Records Survey (NEHRS) (deadline July 19, 2023)
May 19 -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requests comment on a proposal to conduct three rounds of data collection for the National Electronic Health Records Survey (NEHRS), in 2024, 2025, and 2026. NEHRS is a national survey of office-based physicians conducted by NCHS, and sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). NEHRS will collect information about the use of EHR systems, documentation of social determinants of health or social needs in EHR systems, interoperability, exchange of patient health information with public health agencies, and use of telemedicine technology among office-based and outpatient physicians in the United States.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Making Ends Meet Survey (deadline July 17, 2023)
May 16 -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) invites public comments on plans for two new yearly surveys under its “Making Ends Meet” program. The “Making Ends Meet” program uses the Bureau's Consumer Credit Information Panel (CCIP) as a frame to survey people about their experiences in consumer credit markets. The two new yearly surveys solicit information on consumers’ experiences related to household financial shocks, particularly shocks related to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, how households respond to those shocks, and the role of savings to help provide a financial buffer.

  • For additional information, please see the Federal Register entry or EconSpark posting.
  • Information on the 2022 “Making Ends Meet” Survey can be found here.
  • The deadline for submitting comments is July 17, 2023. Comments can be submitted to the CFPB by sending an email to with “Docket No. CFPB-2023-0034” in the subject line.

Census Bureau, Census Household Panel (deadline June 12, 2023)
May 11 -- The U.S. Census Bureau invites public comments on a proposed new Census Household Panel. The Census Household Panel will recruit a probability-based nationally representative survey panel of ~15,000 respondents, based on the Bureau’s gold standard Master Address File. Surveys will be largely internet self-response, and will test methods of collecting data on a variety of topics of interest and conduct experiments on alternative question wording and methodological approaches. The goal of the Panel is to ensure availability of frequent data collection for nationwide estimates on a variety of topics and a variety of subgroups of the population, while meeting standards for transparent quality reporting.