March 2022 Census Project Update

Appropriations Update

Congress and Administration Enact Final Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Measure

Almost six months after Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 began, Congress passed the FY 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2471) to fund all federal agencies through September 30, 2022. President Biden signed the Act into law on March 15.

The Act provides the Census Bureau with $1.354 billion, $88 million below the amount ($1.442 billion) requested by President Biden and approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and $78 million below the level ($1.432 billion) recommended by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. While less than the House and Senate had recommended, the FY22 funding level is $248 million above the Bureau’s FY 2021 enacted funding level ($1.106 billion).

In conference report language accompanying the FY 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress directs the Bureau to “follow all administrative rules and procedures with respect to adding or modifying existing survey content, and to keep the Committees apprised of these efforts.” This language was adopted in lieu of provisions in the FY 2022 House Commerce Justice Science Appropriations report that directed the Bureau “to begin research or pilot development on proxy data collection of SOGI [Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity] questions in current surveys.” Congressional staff confirmed to The Census Project that the conference report language was not intended to affect House report language, requiring the Census Bureau to communicate its plans for updating race and ethnicity questions for the 2030 Census and American Community Survey.

The Census Project published a blog on March 15 that provided additional details about the FY 2022 appropriations outcome.

President Biden Releases Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Proposal

On March 28, President Biden released his proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget request. The President is required by law to submit the budget request to Congress by the first Monday in February. However, this year’s submission was delayed while Congress and the Administration completed work on the FY 2022 appropriations bills.

The President’s budget is not a legally binding document, but rather a statement of the current Administration’s funding and policy priorities. Its release marks the first step in the annual appropriations process. Congress uses the President’s budget to inform its work as it drafts and considers the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund all Federal government agencies—ideally before the next fiscal year begins on October 1.

The FY 23 budget recommends that the Census Bureau receive $1.505 billion, which is a $151 million increase over the recently-enacted FY 2022 funding level for the Bureau ($1.354 billion). According to the White House release, this request includes over $400 million “to finalize and evaluate the Decennial Census and lay the groundwork for a successful 2030 Census.”
 
The Census Bureau’s FY 2023 Congressional Justification provides more detail, and highlights from the budget release are featured in a recent Census Project blog. The Census Project will be releasing an analysis of the budget as part of its impending FY 2023 funding recommendation.

Policy Update

The Census Project Issues New Report Regarding the American Community Survey

On March 8, the Census Project released a report, “America’s Essential Data at Risk A Vision to Preserve and Enhance the American Community Survey.” The Census Project commissioned the report upon the news that the Bureau could only release experimental data from its ACS 1-year survey and had to delay the 5-year ACS products at precisely the moment the country was most in need of trusted information to respond to multiple challenges that included a once-in-a-century pandemic; a severe economic downturn; and rapidly rising inflation.

The first extensive assessment of all the uses and value of the ACS, the report found that on top of data quality issues at just the wrong moment in history, the impact of delays in data will be pervasive, especially given the importance of the ACS to businesses, state and local governments, federal funding decisions, and more. The report includes several recommendations that would enhance and modernize the ACS by improving the quality, timeliness and robustness of its data and strengthening the survey’s data collection and dissemination operations.

The Census Project created a new link on its home page where the report and accompanying materials, including fact sheets and media materials, are posted. The recording of a March 11 webinar for stakeholders is also available on this site.

Latest National Advisory Committee Recommendations on Differential Privacy

The Census Project posted a March 21 blog regarding a recent meeting of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations (NAC) in which the Committee discussed several high profile issues, including differential privacy.

The NAC approved recommendations on how the Bureau messages the issue, such as highlighting the legal requirements for the Bureau to use disclosure avoidance methods, better messaging approaches to distinct population groups, the readability of messages for public consumption, how to handle the content of messages, and the media choices for messaging.

The NAC also considered messaging on differential privacy for data users and made recommendations on the consequences of data suppression. See the meeting agenda and presentations, and read the full NAC recommendations.

Census Bureau Announces Undercount and Overcount Estimates from the 2020 Census

On March 10, the Census Bureau released estimates regarding population undercount and overcount in the 2020 Census based on data from the Post Enumeration Survey (PES) and 2020 Demographic Analysis (DA).  This first release provided estimates of population coverage overall and by demographic groups, such as race and Hispanic origin, as well as age groups and sex and net coverage error estimates by age and sex.

According to the Bureau’s analysis, Latino (5%), Black (3.3%) and Native American (5.6%) populations were significantly undercounted, while non-Hispanic whites (0.6%) and the Asian populations (2.6%) were overcounted in the 2020 Census. According to press accounts, the Census Bureau is considering additional steps it may take to adjust its annual population estimates to account for the undercounts of some minority groups.

In response to release of the 2020 Census undercount and overcount estimates, Steve Jost, consultant to The Census Project, appeared on the Morning Rush show on Newsy.

Census Bureau News

On March 2, the Census Bureau announced the beginning of data collection for phase 3.4 of the experimental Household Pulse Survey (HPS).

On March 10, the Census Bureau released estimates regarding population undercount and overcount in the 2020 Census based on data from the Post Enumeration Survey (PES) and 2020 Demographic Analysis (DA).  This first release provided estimates of population coverage overall and by demographic groups, such as race and Hispanic origin, as well as age groups and sex and net coverage error estimates by age and sex. According to a March 17 press release, the Census Bureau will release undercount and overcount rates by state and the District of Columbia from the 2020 Census PES in May 2022.

On March 11, the Census Bureau’s International Programs Center released a series of technical notes on Select Topics in International Censuses. Each note highlights a new subject, method, or operation relevant to census planners in middle- to low-income countries.

The Census Bureau released  new statistics from the 2016–2020 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates on March 17.

More than 73% (2,297) of U.S. counties experienced natural decrease in 2021, up from 45.5% in 2019 and 55.5% in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2021 estimates of population and components of change released on March 24.

Census Bureau Data Releases

On March 1, the Census Bureau released the 2019 Wealth and Asset Ownership Detailed Tables highlighting state-level data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). 

New data from Phase 8 of the Small Business Pulse Survey was released on March 3, March 10, March 17, March 24, and March 31.

The February 2022 Business Formation Statistics were released on March 9.

On March 23, the Census Bureau released data from the Household Pulse Survey.

Capital expenditures for robotic equipment totaled $9,853 million and accounted for 1.0% of total equipment expenditures in 2020, according to new Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES) estimates released March 30.

News You Can Use

Below are several articles posted on The Census Project home page in March 2022.  For a complete listing, go to: https://thecensusproject.org/recent-media/.

Seven Decades Later, the 1950 Census Bares Its Secrets
The New York Times
March 31, 2022

22 senators call on Census Bureau to fix undercount
The Hill
March 31, 2022

These 5 States Have the Most Vacant Homes
Newsweek
March 30, 2022

Newly Released U.S. Census Records Reveal a Time Capsule of Life in 1950
Wall Street Journal
March 28, 2022

The economic impacts of a census miscount
NPR
March 28, 2022

Why census undercounts are problematic for political representation
Brookings
March 28, 2022

In These 22 Cities, Women Under 30 Are Out-Earning Men—Or At Least Reaching Pay Parity
Forbes
March 28, 2022

Deaths outpace births in most counties as U.S. growth slowed in 2020
The Washington Post
March 24, 2022

US Census Study Reveals COVID-19 Pandemic Impact
VOA News
March 24, 2022

Time to retool census? Some think so after minorities missed
Associated Press
March 20, 2022

Report: Census Bureau should set timeframes for protecting respondents’ data privacy
FedScoop
March 15, 2022

Advocates work to correct a census undercount of Black people, Latinos and Native Americans
NPR
March 14, 2022

U.S. Census undercounted Latinos, Black people and Native Americans
Reuters
March 10, 2022

19 Million Americans Are Not a Rounding Error
Esquire
March 10, 2022

Should We Redo the Census?
National Review
March 10, 2022

The 2020 census undercounted Latino, Black and Native American people
CNN
March 10, 2022

Experts: Census needs funding to repair its data ‘backbone’
Associated Press
March 8, 2022

After years of US population growth, it’s time for a pause
The Hill
March 7, 2022

With legislative redistricting at a crucial stage, most Americans don’t feel strongly about it
Pew Research
March 4, 2022

Here are the states with the highest and lowest gender wage gap
The Hill
March 4, 2022