With 2020 Census operations already ramping up, more than 200 companies and organizations implored Congress to “provide full-year funding for the 2020 Census as soon as possible.” That funding would need to be at least at the Senate committee-passed level of $6.7 billion for Fiscal Year 2020, according to their letter to Congress, “whether as part of a package of final spending bills or in a new Continuing Resolution — whichever vehicle will be enacted first in the coming weeks.” The groups warned Congress that, “The window of opportunity to ensure a successful 2020 Census in all communities is closing.”
Organized by the Census Project, a broad-based coalition of business, civic, academic and state and local government groups who closely monitor 2020 Census preparations and care deeply about the resulting data, the letter was cosigned by groups as diverse as the American Heart Association, Insights Association, National Association of Realtors, National League of Cities, the Nielson company, Population Association of America, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and many varied state and local groups.
“The constitutionally mandated 2020 Census has already started,” the letter explained. “Twelve weeks after the most recent FY20 Continuing Resolution (CR) (P.L. 116-69) is due to expire on December 20, U.S. households will begin receiving their 2020 Census materials, by mail or hand-delivery. Major census operations have already begun and critical final steps — from recruiting and screening staff, to verifying addresses, to finalizing outreach and advertising plans — are finished or underway. We are grateful that the latest CR, funding the federal government through December 20, provides the Census Bureau with a temporary spending rate of $7.3 billion for the Periodic Censuses and Programs account, which includes a spending rate of at least $6.7 billion for the 2020 Census, for the duration of the CR.”
“However,” without “sufficient, on-time resources,” the Census Project stakeholder letter continued, “an accurate count is jeopardized.” The Census Bureau requires “the certainty of full-year funding for the 2020 Census now, so that it can commit necessary resources for final preparations, major operations, and expanded activities targeting hard-to-count communities in rural, suburban and urban areas, without concern that its funding may fall short of need.”
“An inaccurate census resulting from delayed or insufficient funding would” directly imperil the data needed “for essential decision-making across the U.S. for the next decade, in both the private and public sectors,” the Census Project stakeholder letter concluded. “Everything from apportioning representation, to business investment and siting decisions, to guiding the geographic distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding every year, depends on an accurate 2020 Census.”