March 2021 Census Project Update

Appropriations Update

On March 15, The Census Project released its Fiscal Year 2022 funding recommendation for the Census Bureau. The recommendation is largely “aspirational” and was developed in the absence of any details from the Biden Administration regarding its FY 2022 budget request. The recommendation, $2 billion, would provide the Census Bureau with a generous funding level, enabling the agency to fund numerous activities. These activities that could be supported include: delivery of all 2020 census data products; conduct of the 2022 Economic Census; expansion of the American Community Survey; extension of the existing Pulse Surveys; accelerated implementation of the Census Frames Initiative; and preparations for the 2030 Census. The full recommendation is posted on The Census Project home page.

At press time, President Biden had not released initial details of his Administration’s FY 2022 proposed budget. Initial details are expected in early April with the complete budget being released in mid-May.

Policy Update

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Holds Census Hearing

On March 23, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) Committee held a hearing, “The 2020 Census and Current Activities of the U.S. Census Bureau.” Acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin and officials from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Christopher Mihm, Managing Director, Strategic Issues, and Nick Marinos, Director, Information Technology & Cybersecurity, testified. The purpose of the hearing was to review the conduct and outcome, to date, of the 2020 Census. A blog summarizing the outcome of the hearing is posted at: Senate Holds Hearing on 2020 Census – The Census Project.

Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing to Consider Commerce Deputy Secretary

The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on March 10 to consider the nomination of Don Graves to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce. During the hearing, Mr. Graves was asked several questions about delays associated with delivery of 2020 Census data. As of press time, the Committee had not acted on Mr. Graves nomination.

Alabama Sues Census Bureau Over Release of Redistricting Data

On March 10, the state of Alabama sued the Census Bureau over delayed census redistricting data. The suit also sought to preclude the Bureau from using differential privacy in the final production of the redistricting file and to deliver the data by the original statutory deadline of March 31. In a related development, on March 25, a federal judge dismissed a similar redistricting lawsuit filed last month by the state of Ohio.

External Review of 2020 Census Data Quality Continues

On March 18, the American Statistical Association issued an update on work being conducted by outside experts regarding the outcome of the 2020 Census, using the ASA 2020 Census Quality Indicators.

Dr. Bill O’Hare Publishes Blog on Implications of Blended Base Young Children Estimates

On March 3, The Census Project published a blog authored by Dr. William O’Hare, “Implications of a Blended Base for Post 2020 Census Estimates for Young Children.” 

Senate Confirms Governor Raimondo as next Commerce Secretary

On March 2, the U.S. Senate approved the nomination of Governor Gina Raimondo to be the next Secretary of the Department of Commerce by a vote of 84-15.

Government Accountability Office Keeps 2020 Census on List of High-Risk Projects

On March 2, the Government Accountability Office announced that it was keeping the 2020 Census on the list of “high-risk” government projects because of delays and uncertainty in the data quality.

Census Project Members Conduct Meetings with Freshmen Offices

Throughout the month of March, members of The Census Project met with staff representing freshman members of Congress who are serving on committees charged with funding or overseeing The Census Bureau.  

Census Bureau News

The Census Bureau announced it had paid temporary workers on March 30, March 23, March 16, March 9, and March 2.

A new brief, Childhood Disability in the United States: 2019, describing rates and patterns of childhood disability in the United States, was released on March 25.

On March 25, the Census Bureau released a report on home ownership.

The Census Bureau released data from the Small Business Pulse Surveys on March 25, March 18, March 11, and March 4.

Data in this March 24 report are from the Census Bureau’s 2010 to 2019 Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES), which collects information on expenditures for new and used structures and equipment.

On March 18, the Census Bureau released a new report showing the average one-way commute in the United States increased to a new high of 27.6 minutes in 2019. 

On March 15, in declarations recently filed in the case of Ohio v. Raimondo, the U.S. Census Bureau made clear that we can provide a legacy format summary redistricting data file to all states by mid-to-late August 2021. 

The U.S. Census Bureau released the fourth quarter 2020 report of the Quarterly Services Survey on March 12.

Census Bureau Data Releases

On March 22, the Census Bureau released an online map in advance of the Bureau’s apportionment results release.

On March 10, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data from the extension of the third phase of the experimental Household Pulse Survey.

On March 9, the Bureau released its 2020 Housing Vacancy Survey.

On March 3, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the release of new public use files for the 2018 Rental Housing Finance Survey.

The 2014-2018 American Community Survey Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation was made available on the U.S. Census Bureau’s file transfer protocol (FTP) server on March 1.

News You Can Use

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

Census data delay scrambles plans for state redistricting
Associated Press
March 28, 2021

How pandemic snarls redistricting – and 2022 election plans
The Christian Science Monitor
March 26, 2021

Ohio Bid for Fast Census Data Tossed by Court, Quickly Appealed
Bloomberg Law
March 24, 2021

Judge Dismisses Ohio Lawsuit Seeking To Rush Out Census Data For Redistricting
Talking Points Memo
March 24, 2021

Census Bureau defends delays in data delivery before Senate panel
Roll Call
March 23, 2021

Redistricting data may be ready a month early, in old format
Associated Press
March 19, 2021

How COVID Shaped New York Census Results  
March 17, 2021

Trump Gets Path to Revenge With Help From New Congressional Map
March 14, 2021

House that? How the 2020 census may help Republicans regain power in Washington
The Economist
March 13, 2021

Alabama sues the U.S. Census Bureau over data delay, fuzzy numbers
March 10, 2021

144 cities could lose metropolitan area status
The Hill
March 7, 2021

GAO faults USPS, Census Bureau in ‘high-risk’ report
The Hill
March 2, 2021

Biden’s Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, Confirmed By Senate
March 2, 2021

Census data snafu upends 2022 elections
March 1, 2021

The Census Bureau must be allowed to finish its job
The Boston Globe
March 1, 2021