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Idaho Policy Institute meets with United States Census Bureau Director

In early June, Boise State’s Idaho Policy Institute (IPI) met with United States Census Bureau Director Robert Santos to discuss how IPI uses Census data to support research and decision-making.

IPI is an institute housed under the School of Public Service at Boise State, and they work across the state with public, private and nonprofit organizations to inform decision making, overcome challenges, and navigate change. Most notably, IPI conducts an annual statewide survey, where Idaho residents give their input on a wide range of topics, including the economy, taxes, elections, education, growth, housing, and public safety.

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Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute and U.S. Census Bureau, June 2024

IPI uses Census data in several ways, such as using the Census as a resource in classrooms. The Census provides a tool called the Application Programming Interface (API), which allows users to find specific information from the most recent Census datasets for their own purposes. One example of this was IPI’s use of one of the Census APIs to demonstrate to Idaho’s governor that the affordable housing crisis is not an urban issue or a resort town issue, but rather an Idaho-specific issue. This information then led to the governor allocating $50 million towards workforce housing support.

During the meeting, IPI and the Census discussed ways that they could support each other in the future, such as utilizing the Census’ Tribal Relations Specialist to help build relationships between Boise State and Tribal communities that aren’t extractive. The Census representatives are looking for ways to provide valuable data to local communities beyond their survey each decade, and they’re also interested in learning more about partners like IPI and what data or tools would be most beneficial to them.

IPI looks forward to continued conversations with the U.S. Census Bureau and how they can work together in the future. For more information on IPI and how they serve Idaho communities, visit their website: Idaho Policy Institute.