House Subcommittee Requests More Frequent American Income Data

primeimages/Getty Images

The Subcommittee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth asked for greater data releases in a bid to close wealth gaps.

A letter authored by members of the U.S. House of Representatives requested a more efficient publishing of personal income data collected by the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

The data, gathered by Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, looks at personal income information of Americans to gauge the rate of economic growth and its distribution across households. 

Members from the House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth penned a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo asking for that data to be made available in a more timely manner and reported quarterly rather than annually, as it is now. 

“Data show that disparities in wealth and income are larger now than at any time in at least the past 80 years,” the letter reads. “Moreover, these disparities are often rooted in where workers and their families live and who they are. The data show that men earn more than women, Black Americans face barriers to building wealth, urban counties experience faster growth than rural ones and much more.”

The House subcommittee was created to investigate the wealth gap in the country and says it is interested in “bipartisan solutions” to improve economic equity. Representatives serving on the subcommittee said the data series on income from the BEA can help them tailor policy around current economic indicators, but only if the latest numbers are submitted at a more frequent rate.  

“Although we believe BEA should have latitude to develop the data series as they see fit, we want to strongly recommend that these resources be used to improve the timeliness of the data,” the letter notes. “Currently, this data series is released once annually on a significant time lag. We believe that the distribution of U.S. economic growth is just as important as the aggregate amount of economic growth, and that both should be reported on a similar schedule.”

Other branches of the government are invested in developing an accurate data portrait of economic growth in the U.S. President Biden’s 2023 fiscal year budget allocates millions of federal funding for the BEA to develop new data tools measuring indicators from supply chain strength to the burgeoning space industry economy. 

The letter cites that the BEA was specifically awarded $2.7 million as funding for Personal Income data collection.

“As members of the Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, we believe this dataset is absolutely essential for understanding the modern economy,” the letter said. “We can only manage what we can measure.”