Does your city rely on federal data? We want to know about it.


Tom Schenk, Chief Data Officer for the City of Chicago, at the UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory. Photo by Daniel X. O’Neil via Flickr.

Cities increasingly rely on data to make public policy decisions based on empirical evidence, and that’s a good thing. It’s not just city-level data that they use, however. Many cities rely on data from the federal government to gain a more comprehensive understanding their residents’ needs.

Despite these benefits, the federal government’s commitment to open government data is uncertain under the Trump administration. That means there is a critical and timely need to document just how important federal government data is to city halls across the country.

If you work in a city hall and use federal datasets, we want to hear from you. We are conducting a survey of city employees about the federal data they rely on most. We are proud to be partnering with DataLensDC to conduct this survey. It only takes a few minutes to complete, and your answers are confidential.

The brand new American Community Survey information released today by the U.S. Census Bureau is one great example of federal data that cities often use. Data like this informs city policy on everything from housing to public safety to environmental protection—and it’s important to our democracy that the federal infrastructure for the collection, maintenance and publication of quality open data like this remain in place.

City halls are potentially the most prominent users of federal data, and if federal data policies are going to change cities deserve a seat at the table. If you are a city employee, take our short survey to tell us what federal datasets you rely on most. We’ve already heard from city staff in more than 60 cities—add your voice to tell us how your city uses this information.

If you’re not a city employee, you can still join our fight to keep federal data open. Send a link to our survey to your local elected officials and ask them to take the survey on your behalf.