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Data Collection Process


You may notice that newly released data are often from a previous year.  BJS must follow rigorous data quality guidelines to ensure that the data are accurate, consistent, and trustworthy.  BJS collects data from both administrative records and surveys. After collection, BJS must clean, weight (in the case of sample populations,) analyze, and fully verify the data prior to release.

Below is an average data collection and processing timetable:

  • Data collection

5-6 months (from reference date) for administrative surveys; 8-12 for interview surveys

  • Cleaning/weighting   

1-2 months for administrative surveys; 3-6 for interview surveys

  • Analysis/verification

2-12 months, depending on survey type and complexity of analysis

  • Preparation to disseminate

2-3 months

As shown, it can take up to two years from initial collection to release of data.  We are continually improving our data preparation and release processes to make our data and products available as quickly as possible.

Date Created: May 12, 2021