August 2021 Census Project Update

Appropriations Update

There has been no action on Fiscal Year 2022 funding for the Census Bureau since House committee passage of the Commerce Justice Science (CJS) appropriations legislation in July. We do not know when or if the bill will come to the House floor for a vote, although the House passed a “minibus” combination of seven other appropriations bills at the end of July (H.R. 4502).

The Census Project continues to urge the Senate to pursue “a higher level of funding for essential census programs,” but no timeline for legislation or action has come out of the Senate yet.

Stakeholders should expect to see a Continuing Resolution to fund federal government activities, including the Census Bureau, before the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

Policy Update

Senate Committee Advances Census Director Nomination

On August 4, by a vote of 10-3, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee voted to advance the nomination of Robert Santos to be the next Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. Three Republican members of the committee, U.S. Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Rick Scott (R-FL) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) opposed the nomination without explanation.

2020 Census Operational Quality Metrics

The U.S. Census Bureau released two rounds of 2020 Census operational quality metrics in August, including the 2020 Census item nonresponse rates for the population count, age or date of birth, race, and Hispanic origin questions, and the sub-state summaries for each state to show the variation and spread in the range of operational quality metrics between localities within each state

According to Bureau staff, the results in the 2020 Census redistricting data release in August were “generally in line with expectations.”

2020 Census Quality Indicators

On August 5 and August 19, The Census Project posted updates prepared by the American Statistical Association regarding the status of the 2020 Census Quality Indicators efforts.

Report on Undercount of Kids

A report from Dr. William P. O’Hare for Count all Kids contended that the 2020 Census “had a higher net undercount of children than in 2010.” He warned that “we will need to wait for more data to determine how many children were missed (omitted) and if the rate of omitted young and older children grew.”

Report on Census Undercount and Redistricting

A Union of Concerned Scientists report attempted to explain “the challenges and shortcomings of the 2020 Census, and… practices for responsible, science-based use of the challenging Census data for redistricting to ensure fair representation of historically undercounted groups, such as immigrants, low-income communities, and people of color, and to guard against gerrymandering.”

Census Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC) meeting scheduled for September

The U.S. Census Bureau is set to host the Census Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC) Virtual Meeting September 23- 24. Experts and representatives of various organizations from across the nation will attend the virtual meeting to discuss census programs, operations and innovative processes.

Census Bureau Blogs Address Imputation Issues as well as Race and Hispanic origin questions

A recent Census Bureau blog post discussed how the agency “improved the census questions on race and Hispanic origin, also known as ethnicity, between 2010 and 2020.” Another explained how the 2020 Census gets completed when demographic and housing characteristics are missing.

Census Bureau News

The Bureau announced that in September, 10 college and university programs (including four Minority Serving Institutions representing traditionally hard-to-count communities) will begin focusing on Decennial Data Accessibility as part of The Opportunity Project’s (TOP) technology development sprints.

The Census GeoCoder may help some states make decisions about where and whether to include individuals living in group quarters when redrawing district boundaries.

The Bureau previewed the diversity measures in the 2020 Census and explained what each can tell you about the nation’s racial and ethnic composition and diversity.

Census Bureau Data Releases

The Census Bureau released the 2020 Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data on August 12. States use these data on race, Hispanic origin, and the voting-age population to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts. The Bureau also released additional 2020 Census results showing an increase in the population of U.S. metro areas compared to a decade ago. In addition, these once-a-decade results showed the nation’s diversity in how people identify their race and ethnicity. These statistics, which come from the 2020 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File, provide the first look at populations for small areas and include information on Hispanic origin, race, age 18 and over, housing occupancy and group quarters. They represent where people were living as of April 1, 2020, and are available for the nation, states and communities down to the block level.

The Bureau shared a press kit as a guide to the data release.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently began collecting data for the new Institute of Education Sciences (IES) School Pulse Panel (SPP) Survey as part of the efforts to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public school students and staff.

The Census Bureau report Childless Older Americans: 2018 uses data from the 2018 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to examine the circumstances (socioeconomic status and demographic characteristics), potential caregiving and financial support from family and the community, and health and well-being of child­less older adults. The report also compares these characteristics to those of biological parents of the same age group.

A new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows 34.0% of the U.S. population was in poverty for at least two months between January 2013 and December 2016. The report, Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Poverty, 2013–2016, presents data on poverty based on information collected in the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

The U.S. Census Bureau released the total number of 2020 Census paid temporary workers that earned any pay July 18 – July 24, 2021, July 25 – July 31, 2021, Aug. 1 – Aug. 7, 2021, Aug. 8 – Aug. 14, 2021, and Aug. 15 – Aug. 21, 2021.

The Bureau released the Franchise Statistics Report from the 2017 Economic Census. The report includes national-level data for nearly 300 industries like fast-food restaurants that have franchises as well as other industries in 15 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors published in the economic census.

The U.S. Census Bureau released new data from the sixth phase of the Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS) on August 26. Data collection for phase six began on August 16.

The U.S. Census Bureau released new data from phase 3.2 of the experimental Household Pulse Survey on August 11 and August 25.

The newest phase now asks respondents about their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in addition to their sex. According to the initial results from the HPS’ use of these questions, “The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) adult population reported living in households with higher rates of food and economic insecurity than non-LGBT Americans.”

The 2020 Annual Business Survey (ABS) First Look infographic was released.

The U.S. Census Bureau released 52 individual data profiles on America Counts on August 25 highlighting the recent 2020 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File release. These sharable data-rich state profiles are available for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and feature data visualizations that include population, housing, race, ethnicity, diversity and age data. Each profile provides key demographic characteristics of each state and county on one page.

The Bureau announced the release of Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) Explorer version 1.0. BDS Explorer provides access to the entire BDS dataset via line charts, bar charts and thematic maps.

The Bureau released the 2019 Community Resilience Estimates to measure the ability of a population to withstand adversity from the impacts of disasters, including weather- and disease-related events such as pandemics, forest fires and floods.

The U.S. Census Bureau released a report summarizing 2019 e-commerce statistics on shipments, sales and revenues from key sectors of the economy: manufacturing, wholesale, services and retail. These statistics are available dating back to 1999. The estimates in this report are based on data from the Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Manufactures, Service Annual Survey, Annual Retail Trade Survey, and Annual Wholesale Trade Survey.

News You Can Use

Below are several articles posted on The Census Project home page in July 2021. For a complete listing, go to:

The Census Has Revealed A More Multiracial U.S. One Reason? Cheaper DNA Tests
August 28, 2021

After census, states move to count prisoners at home
The Hill
August 27, 2021

Gerrymandering Wars Ignited
The Ellis Insight
August 27, 2021

Redistricting to test new Census method for protecting user data
Roll Call
August 26, 2021

Between 5 and 6 Percent of U.S. Households Did Not Provide Age, Race Info for 2020 Census
August 25, 2021

US Census Bureau Criticized for Handling of Breach
GovInfo Security
August 19, 2021

Census shows a more diverse, urban America
NBC News
August 15, 2021

New Census Data: Demography is Still Not Destiny
Erick Erickson’s Confessions of a Political Junkie
August 13, 2021

Data Scientists Square Off Over Trust and Privacy in 2020 Census
August 12, 2021

Key set of community-level data won’t be released by U.S. Census Bureau due to pandemic
August 9, 2021

Census Data Change to Protect Privacy Rattles Researchers, Minority Groups
The Wall Street Journal
August 2, 2021