Dr. Robert M. Groves
Dr. Robert M. Groves
Image: Penn State

State Data Center marks 30 years

For 30 years, it’s been all about the numbers at the State Data Center at Penn State Harrisburg. As Pennsylvania’s liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau, established in 1981 by an executive order of Gov. Richard Thornburgh, the center is the Commonwealth’s chief source of population and economic statistics and services.

Want to know how much more you could expect to earn by obtaining a graduate degree? Wondering what groups of people own businesses in Pennsylvania?  Need to know the number of handguns sold in the state? The center can answer all of these questions and more.

“We answer hundreds of questions monthly and reply to more than 15,000 information requests annually, serving businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and individuals,” said Director Sue Copella. “We can provide vital information, whether you are relocating or starting a business, outlining a public policy initiative, or simply need data.”

A unit within Penn State Harrisburg's Institute for State and Regional Affairs, the center publishes the “Pennsylvania Abstract,” an annual statistical factbook, and a series of other reference books and materials. The center also provides Census data training workshops and offers custom data mapping and research services.  

Each year the center also hosts Pennsylvania’s Data Users Conference, bringing together experts in demography, Census data, mapping, and social science research. This year’s conference, held Sept. 15 in Grantville, Pa., featured Dr. Robert M. Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau. Groves discussed strategies the bureau is undertaking to meet the demands of new technologies, shrinking budgets, and the enormous amount of data available today from many sources. The Census Bureau, like most other agencies and businesses, is working to find more cost effective ways to get the job done, Groves said.

For more information, visit the State Data Center.