Since World Statistics Day is focused primarily on honoring government statisticians globally, I thought I'd do a quick interview with Jared Dean. Currently a Director of SAS R&D for Analytics Testing, Dean worked for the U.S. Census Bureau before coming to SAS.
Anne: Happy World Statistics Day! As someone who spent a number of years as a statistician at the U.S. Census Bureau, what are your thoughts about celebrating this day?
Jared: Thank you Anne, I'm very excited to be able to celebrate this first World Statistics Day and honor the great work that my former colleagues at the U.S. Census Bureau provide to the United States, and to all those working on official statistics throughout the world. Having worked at the Census Bureau, I saw first-hand the dedication and care that Census employees take in doing their job and the vital role it plays in our lives.
The Decennial Census, which is the most recognized activity, plays a vital role not only in the apportionment of seats to the House of Representatives but also in how $400 Billion in federal funds are distributed annually to state and local governments. Besides the Decennial Census, Census Bureau employees work on the Economic Census, the American Community Survey, and a number of other surveys on behalf of sponsoring governmental agencies.
Anne: Can you share some of the care and effort that goes into the service provided by official statistics offices like the U.S. Census Bureau?
Jared: The US Census Bureau takes great care to provide timely, unbiased, and informative data that can help law makers at all levels of government as well as non-governmental groups. Most of my time at the Census Bureau was spent working on the American Community Survey (ACS), which samples around 3 million households annually and provides data on socioeconomic, housing, and demographic information. The men and women who work on the ACS and throughout the Census bureau have integrity and a desire to serve the American people.
Anne: What about some of the care and effort that goes into testing software used by so many countries in an official capacity around the world?
Jared: SAS dedicates dozens and dozens of people to the effort to make sure that our software is correct and robust for our users. Each release of SAS represents hundreds of man-years of testing time. We have tens of thousands of test cases in my area alone that we run regularly to ensure the quality of our software.
Having worked in the US Census Bureau, I know some of the ways that SAS software is used and how critical it is to be correct. We strive to ensure that our customers never get a wrong answer. Official Statistics impact our lives in many ways, both large and small. I’m proud that even though I don’t still work for a statistical agency, I can help provide those statisticians with quality tools to perform this vital function.