|Census Bureau (1)|
The U.S. government collects a significant amount of data and makes it publicly available on the Internet. Average Americans can use some of the information contained on government websites to help them make important decisions, including identifying the perfect locales, finding the right jobs, and determining which hospitals are best suited to meet their needs. Here are three government websites which the public might find particularly helpful.
U.S. Census Bureau
People who are thinking about moving to another locale might want to check out the Census Bureau's website. The user friendly site contains county and city level information on such topics as population, home ownership rates, median household incomes, and poverty rates. Individuals can use this data to help pinpoint areas that are thriving or to identify localities that meet their specific needs, i.e., cities with large numbers of retirees.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' website is not particularly user friendly. It nonetheless contains valuable information both for people who are just entering the workforce and for those individuals who are thinking about switching vocations. The site provides industry level data on pertinent topics, including wages, workplace injuries, and employment rates. People can utilize this information to help them identify jobs that meet their needs.
An individual who needs to utilize a hospital's services and has the luxury of choosing his or her facility may want to visit Hospital Compare. The website, hosted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, is an excellent resource for a person who wants to determine if a particular hospital provides high quality care. Users of the website can see how a facility compares with its peers via a number of key measures like patient friendliness, death rates for specific diseases, and the percentage of times certain safety protocols are obeyed. Some people may be frustrated by the fact that the site only contains information on a limited number of quality measures. Additionally, much of the data is self-reported, which may impact its validity. Even noting these limitations, Hospital Compare is an excellent resource for people who are trying to identify the hospitals which are best able to meet their needs.
These three websites contain valuable information not only for researchers but for the general public as well. The U.S. government also manages other data heavy websites that might be of benefit to average Americans in particular situations. If you are making an important decision involving your residence, your finances, your career, or your health, you might want to peruse some of these sites.
1. Creator: U.S. Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau)
Date: February 9, 2008
Title: Seal of the United States Census Bureau.
Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - U.S. government graphic (click on the title to see the
artwork, credits, and permissions).
-- Anthony Hopper
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