National Statistics 100% open

United States

What data is expected?

Key national statistics on demographic and economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or unemployment and population statistics. See our methodology section for more information.

  • Gross Domestic Product
  • National unemployment
  • National population

How open is the data?

All answers

Question Answer Comment
Openly licenced Yes Very tough to answer. 1. GDP (BEA): No explicit open license policy, but the data are freely available, and BEA has several specific open data commitments that would imply compliance with a general open licensing commitment ( 2. Unemployment (BLS) has no stated openness policies. 3. US Census site has the following, " Copyright protection is not available for any work of the United States Government (Title 17 U.S.C., Section 105). Thus you are free to reproduce census materials as you see fit. We would ask, however, that you cite the Census Bureau as the source," but the site doesn't enable you to directly link to the page with that text. Very unclear, therefore, if there is a true, concrete, explicit "open license."
In an open and machine-readable format CSV, HTML, JSON, XLS
Downloadable at once Yes Again, the wording makes it seem like I am supposed to have found one dataset, not 3 unique datasets.
Up-to-date Yes General question: How should respondents answer this question if some of the 3 data types are up-to-date, but others are not? This question wording still makes it seem like I am looking for one dataset. Again, if I had not spoken with OKF directly, I would not have know I was searching for 3 unique data types. Specifics: 1.Population-- hard to say if up to date, since I'm not sure what exact type of "population" data OKF is referring to. Full release schedule here (as you'll see, only some population data are up-to-date at the year mark: 2. Unemployment: Up-to-date, according to: 3. Unemployment: Believe it's up to date because data are updated quarterly, but the data don't have a timestamp, so I can't be absolutely sure it's within 3 months (
Publicly available Yes
Available free of charge Yes Again, the wording makes it seem like I am supposed to have found one dataset, not 3 unique datasets.
findable 3 At first, I thought I was supposed to be looking for one central database with all 3 data types (GDP/unemployment/population). Had I not requested help from OKF directly, I wouldn't have understood what, exactly, I was supposed to be evaluating, and would have filled out this survey completely differently. Once I understood I was actually evaluating 3 different data types that could come from 3 unique data sources, it was very easy to find and evaluate the data.
findable_steps 1.) Reviewed to look for central dataset that contained all 3 data types (GDP/unemployment/population). Site very hard to navigate, and I made no progress. 2.) Spoke directly with OKF to tell them I didn't understand why I couldn't find the data, and they informed me I had misunderstood the survey tool entirely. 3.) Now understanding what information I was supposed to be providing, I ran 3 quick Google searches to find each data type on their respective official source sites (BEA, BLS, Census)
licence_url Again, the wording makes it seem like I am supposed to have found one dataset, not 3 unique datasets. This link will not work, but if search the Census site ( for the term "copyright," you can find the statement. Update: also see*/!STANDARD - 'All U.S. Census Bureau materials, regardless of the media, are entirely in the public domain. There are no user fees, site licenses, or any special agreements etc for the public or private use, and or reuse of any census title. As tax funded product, it's all in the public record.'
Collected by government Yes
usability 3 Data are sometimes in very clean, usable formats like JSON or CSV, but are sometimes hidden in very messy formats like HTML or even JPEG (see the 3rd quarter BEA GDP data:
collector_name United States Census Bureau; Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA); Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
characteristics Gross Domestic Product, National unemployment, National population
location - GDP, - National unemployment, - National population, - United States Census Bureau Update: added link to main US statistics website, the Census Bureau
God help us.

This submission is valid, thank you Katherine Wikrent for contributing to the Global Open Data Index. Added additional information to B7.1.

Meta data

Data location - GDP - National unemployment - National population - United States Census Bureau
Data licence
Data format   CSV, HTML, JSON, XLS
Reviewer   Sophie Lafayette
Submitters   Katherine Wikrent
Last modified   Mon Jan 16 2017 20:24:25 GMT+0000 (UTC)