“This report finds: Government data potentially guides trillions of dollars of investments each year. Government data helps governments to better target scarce resources, businesses stay competitive, and individuals stay informed about the communities in which they live. As the real world examples in this report demonstrate, individuals, businesses, other organizations, and governments use Government data to help make better informed decisions that are better, faster, and more plentiful because of the ready availability and high quality of Government data. The cost of Government data is small relative to its potential benefits. Since 2004, the Federal Government’s principal statistical agencies have spent an average of $3.7 billion annually on data collection, processing, and dissemination. This expenditure amounts to about three cents, per person, per day, and is only 0.02 percent of our roughly $17 trillion dollar economy. Government data is uniquely comprehensive, consistent, confidential, credible, relevant, and accessible. Acting alone, the private sector would likely provide only some of the types of data produced by the Government. The Federal Government is uniquely positioned to provide comprehensive, consistent, credible, relevant and accessible data, all while protecting confidentiality. Government data is used directly to support decision making, indirectly through commercially available value-added products, and as a benchmark and standard for private data products. Thus, the Government and the private sector complement each other.”
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