Business Leaders Urge Full Funding for 2020 Census

A group of 28 industry and trade associations, coordinated by the Insights Association, sent a letter to Congressional leaders and distributed a press release this week mirroring the Census Project’s request that the FY 2019 Census Bureau budget be increased more than $900 million above the Administration’s proposed budget.

The House Appropriations committee will meet this Thursday to vote on its version of the FY 2019 census budget.

2020 Census and Children

This blog was originally posted by the SEIU on May 11.

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By Tonia McMillan, a member of SEIU Local 99.

Child care providers, like myself, teach our students that everyone is important so I’m outraged that the Trump administration wants to make it even harder for every child to be counted in our democracy by using the 2020 census to push its anti-immigrant agenda.

The purpose of the census is ensure that every person in the U.S. is counted, not to check citizenship status. Adding a citizenship question to the census, which hasn’t been done since 1950, would move our country backwards to a time when Jim Crow laws were still in effect and less than two-thirds of young people even finished high school.

Our nation can’t afford to go back to those bad ol’ days. We all know that if you’re not counted then you’re not represented. This is one of many reasons why I am urging working families to call on Congress to hold Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross – who is in charge of the census – accountable for adding this dangerous question.

Young children under the age of five are undercounted in the census at a higher rate than any other age group yet they have the most at stake since they will be living with the impacts for the longest.

More than 2.2 million young children were not counted in the 2010 census, according to the Census Bureau. We can only expect this number to grow if the Trump administration is allowed to use the census to bully immigrant families who may avoid filling out their census forms out of fear of being targeted.

Not only would this be devastating for many of the young children I provide care for everyday,  it would hurt their parents and communities. Funding for many of the programs that have the greatest impact on children’s lives, including the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which funds children’s healthcare, are based largely on census counts.

The Child Care and Development Fund that helps low-income working parents pay for child care is another program whose funding is based on census counts. An undercount of young children on the next census would also be a major blow to the child care industry as a whole.

I don’t allow bullying at my preschool and I definitely won’t tolerate it from self-interested politicians. Our children need a fair and accurate census to ensure their government works for them now and in the future. Although I can’t physically put our elected officials in time-out, I’m calling my members of Congress to tell them it’s time to stop the foolishness.

2020 Census Nuts and Bolts

In a recent briefing call, census expert Terri Ann Lowenthal and Dr. Joseph Salvo, director of the Population Division of the New York City Department of Planning, discussed key milestones for the 2020 Census, ways to measure census progress and accuracy and major operational and field infrastructure preparations for 2018 and 2019. Click on the link below for a recording of the call and additional information:

FY2019 Census Budget Letter

About 150 Census Project stakeholders co-signed a letter to Congressional policymakers urging them to add more funding to the Trump administration’s FY2019 requests for the 2020 Census.

“We respectfully recommend that the committee allocate $4.735 billion for the Census Bureau in FY2019 —$933.50 million above the Administration’s request for the agency, and $912.5 million above the request of $3.015 billion for the 2020 Census,” the letter said.

Describing FY2019 as “a critical year on the path toward the decennial census” the co-signature letter said the FY2019 ramp-up must include additional funding for more partnership specialists to encourage participation by hard-to-count communities, increased advertising/communications funds, additional local census offices and questionnaire assistance centers. The Census Project letter also called for a $300 million contingency fund “in the event of IT failures or natural disasters, including hurricanes and wildfires.”

Included in the administration original request is funding in FY2019 for:

  • completing all address canvassing operations;
  • opening Area Census Offices across the country;
  • finalizing IT systems readiness and security;
  • recruiting and hiring approximately 76,000 personnel for “in field” address canvassing this Summer/Fall;
  • launching the first phase of the communications campaign and making initial advertising buys; and
  • developing the Census 2020 website.

Congressional action on the FY2019 is expected to begin in May.