June 2021 Census Project Update

Appropriations Update

The Census Project analyzed the Administration’s full FY 2022 budget request for the Census Bureau on June 6. The President’s Budget recommended $1,442,402,000 in FY 2022 for the U.S. Census Bureau, a 30 percent increase (or approximately $336 million more) above the Bureau’s FY 2021 enacted level of funding.

We highlighted some of the details for programs, surveys, and innovations of interest to census stakeholders, and expressed the Census Project’s appreciation for the Administration’s support for increased funding in FY 2022 and for prioritizing completion of the 2020 Census, accelerating 2030 Census preparations, and supporting 2022 Economic Census operations. However, the Census Projects expressed concerns about funding needed to expand the sample size of the American Community Survey (ACS), stabilizing the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and urged Congress to inquire about the fiscal and operational impacts of the proposed restructuring of Census Bureau budget and accounts.

Prior to the budget release, the Census Project recommended that the Census Bureau receive $2 billion in FY 2022, a $335 million increase over the agency’s FY 2021 funding level of $1.65 billion.

The House Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, which has funding jurisdiction for the Census Bureau, announced that it would be considering or “marking up” its version of the FY 2022 CJS bill on July 12. The full House Appropriations Committee will consider the bill on July 15, which will be followed by consideration on the House floor. The Senate CJS subcommittee has not announced a markup schedule.

Senators echo the Census Project in call for major new investments in Census Bureau

Thirty-two U.S. Senators, led by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Tina Smith (D-MN), called on the leaders of the Senate Appropriations committee to provide $2 billion in funding for the U.S. Census Bureau in the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations process to help the agency catch up on long delayed investments necessary to modernize and expand Census Bureau surveys and data products. U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), chair of the Oversight and Reform Committee, led a similar sign-on letter signed by a dozen House members.

Census Project co-director Mary Jo Hoeksema responded that, “The Census Project is gratified that our work to broadly educate and inform about the needed transformation efforts at the Census Bureau is being heard and acted upon.”

Policy Update

Restoring certainty to 2020 Census timeline

The Census Project and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights led a letter from 105 stakeholder groups to “underscore the importance and urgency of extending statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting data from the 2020 Census.” The letter urged Senators to cosponsor S. 1267, the Bipartisan 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act, which would extend the statutory deadlines for delivering apportionment and redistricting data to May 1, 2021, and October 1, 2021.

Litigation on differential privacy and redistricting data release timeline

The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on June 29 rejected Alabama’s request to accelerate the release of redistricting data from the 2020 Census and for a preliminary injunction against the Census Bureau’s plans to implement differential privacy (the Disclosure Avoidance System) in processing census data which argued that it violates the Census Act as well as Alabama’s due process and equal protection rights under the Fifth Amendment. As reported by NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang, the Alabama Attorney General does not plan to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, at least not until after the initial redistricting data release in August.

Does imputation improve census data?

As part of a new blog series called “Standard Deviations,” with a variety of perspectives and opinions that do not necessarily reflect those of The Census Project, Dr. William P. O’Hare asked incredulously, “Which Census Bureau Are We Talking About?

GAO questions 2020 Census innovation savings

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the U.S. Census Bureau slowed the growth in the cost of the decennial census, “but did not position itself to know how much money was saved by each of its planned 2020 innovation areas.”

Census Bureau News

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Data Stewardship Executive Policy Committee (DSEP) announced it has selected the settings and parameters for the Disclosure Avoidance System (DAS) for the 2020 Census redistricting data (PL-94-171). The DAS uses a mathematical algorithm to ensure that the privacy of individuals is sufficiently protected while maintaining high levels of accuracy in the statistics the Bureau produces.

Acting director and deputy director Ron Jarmin received the 2021 Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics, recognizing unusually original and important contributions in the development of economic statistics or in the use of statistics in interpreting the economy.

The Census Bureau paid temporary workers May 16 – May 22, May 23 – May 29, May 30 – June 5, June 6 – June 12, and June 13 – June 19.

Census Bureau Data Releases

The Bureau released Vintage 2020 evaluation estimates of population for the nation, states and counties by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, and for Puerto Rico Commonwealth and municipios by age and sex.

The Census Bureau released new data from the fifth phase of the Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS) on June 3, June 10, June 17, and June 24.

The Bureau released new data from phase 3.1 of the experimental Household Pulse Survey on June 2 and June 16.

According to the Census Bureau’s 2019 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) report, uninsured rates dropped in 2,909 U.S. counties and rose in just four counties after implementation of ACA. SAHIE provides single-year estimates of the number of people with health coverage in each of the nation’s counties.

The Bureau released the 2020 Characteristics of New Housing Report, which provides annual statistics on the characteristics of new privately owned residential structures by census region. The report includes characteristics such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location of laundry facilities, presence of a homeowner’s association and buyers’ financing source.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced the release of Census Business Builder (CBB) version 3.4 with new data capabilities and updates.

News You Can Use

Below are several articles posted on The Census Project home page in June 2021. For a complete listing, go to: https://thecensusproject.org/recent-media/.

How The Delayed Census Has Affected Redistricting
June 28, 2021

Census Bureau training 5 agencies to run ‘do-it-yourself’ data sprints
Federal News Network
June 25, 2021

US senators request Census Bureau funding
June 24, 2021

15 GOP governors urge release of Census redistricting data
Associated Press
June 22, 2021

Ky. retains 6 seats in U.S. House. Did you know there once was 13?
Kentucky Today
June 18, 2021

Harvard Researchers Identify Accuracy Concerns in Census Bureau’s New Privacy System
The Harvard Crimson
June 16, 2021

For The U.S. Census, Keeping Your Data Anonymous And Useful Is A Tricky Balance
June 9, 2021

OMB’s potential change of ‘city’ puts billions on the line
Roll Call
June 9, 2021

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs into law new maps for Illinois legislature, state Supreme Court
Chicago Tribune
June 4, 2021

Census Delays: Some Ramifications
The Ellis Insight
June 1, 2021