Census Bureau Should Spend Available 2020 Census Resources Now

Warning against short changing the 2020 Census, Congressional appropriators need “to ensure that the Bureau is spending adequate resources now to meet” Congress’ directives.

In correspondence to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership on April 29, 2019, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NALEO Educational Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and the Census Project warned that, “[T]he window of opportunity to enhance and refine key census operations that are most likely to reach historically hard-to-count population groups is closing fast. We are alarmed that the administration has decided to carry over to FY 2020 more than $1 billion in resources available for 2020 Census activities in FY 2019, in order to reduce the direct appropriation it has proposed for next year. In doing so, the administration is short-changing important 2020 Census outreach programs that Congress directed in report language accompanying both the FY 2018 and FY 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bills. We believe that the Census Bureau must expand or plan those programs now, in order to deploy them effectively and prudently in support of peak census operations next year.”

The groups urged Congressional appropriators to “to require immediate and robust Census Bureau action to achieve the following goals” already set by Congress:

  1. “Increase the number of Partnership Program staff and the pace of hiring and onboarding.”
  2. “Expand targeted communications, including the availability of culturally and linguistically appropriate advertising and promotional materials, to boost participation among historically hard-to-count communities and population groups.”
  3. “Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) in hard-to-count communities.”
  4. “Establish a contingency fund to cover costs not anticipated when the president submitted his FY 2019 budget request.”

We concluded by urging them “to ensure that the Census Bureau is spending available resources in the ways that Congress intended and before it is too late to bolster vital activities through cost-effective activities.”

Review the full letters to the House and Senate.