On May 28, the Biden Administration released additional details regarding its proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget. The proposal recommends that the Census Bureau receive $1,442,402 billion in FY 2022, which is a 30 percent increase (or approximately $336 million more) above the Bureau’s FY 2021 enacted level of funding. The budget table also reports the Census Bureau’s funding in one line, “Censuses and Surveys Programs,” rather than in two separate lines (Current Surveys and Programs and Periodic Censuses and Programs) as has been done in the past. At press time, the Congressional Justification, which provides the narrative about the Bureau’s spending plan, had not been posted. The Census Project will release an analysis once all information regarding the Bureau’s FY 2022 request is released.
In other related appropriations news, on May 4, The Census Project issued a press release promoting a letter that over 50 national, state, and local organizations signed at the end of April calling on Congress to provide the Census Bureau with $2 billion in Fiscal Year 2022. The letter states that the Census Bureau is “at an important crossroads: still resolving the outcome of the 2020 Census, while simultaneously pursuing groundbreaking technical innovations and preparing for the 2030 Census. In FY 2022, Congress has a unique opportunity to initiate multi-year funding for the Bureau, providing the agency with resources that it needs to not only sustain and strengthen its mission, but also to recover from years of postponed enhancements and pursue numerous necessary operational improvements.”
On May 6, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo testified before the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, which is responsible for funding the U.S. Census Bureau. On May 26, Secretary Raimondo appeared before the same subcommittee in the U.S. Senate. The Census Bureau did not figure prominently in the Secretary’s testimony. The Census Project suggested several questions for the record.
The Census Project Focuses on Apportionment
On May 3, Steve Jost, Advisor to The Census Project, presented a webinar, “2020 Census Apportionment Counts: What Do I Need to Know?”
The Census Project also shared a new report from the Congressional Research Service on “Apportionment and Redistricting Process for the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Assessing the Quality of 2020 Census Indicators
On May 27 and 13, the American Statistical Association released updates regarding work being done by independent experts, with support from the Census Bureau, to develop 2020 Census Quality Indicators.
As part of a new blog series called “Standard Deviations,” with a variety of perspectives/opinions that do not necessarily reflect those of The Census Project, Dr. William P. O’Hare posted “The First Assessment of 2020 Census Accuracy.”
Senator Schatz Introduces Census Legislation
During the month of May, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced two census related pieces of legislation. S. 1701, the Census IDEA Act, would require the Secretary of Commerce to provide advance notice to Congress before changing any questions on the decennial census. Senator Schatz introduced the same bill during the 116th Congress. The bill, which currently has 20 cosponsors, was referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for further consideration. In addition, Senator Schatz introduced, S. 1584, a bill to create a 2020 Census Federal Advisory Committee on Transparency and Standards. At press time, the text of the legislation was not available nor were any cosponsors listed. The bill will also be considered by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
New Policy Brief on CQR and Population Estimates Challenge Programs
On May 28, the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality Economic Security and Opportunity Initiative (GCPI ESOI) released a new resource: “2020 Census Count Question Resolution & Population Estimates Challenge Programs: Opportunities for Improving Postcensal Population Estimates.”
In the years between each census, the Census Bureau produces revised annual estimates of the nation’s population using the most recent census count as a starting point. To improve the quality of these updated population estimates, the Bureau provides Tribal, state, and local governments with opportunities to identify and address a limited range of mistakes. These opportunities include the Count Question Resolution (CQR) and Population Estimates Challenge (Challenge) programs. The brief provides a clear description of these programs (and their limitations) to help census stakeholders understand and engage in these opportunities to pursue more accurate population estimates.
Census Bureau Solicits Feedback on Demonstration Data to Evaluate latest Disclosure Avoidance System (DAS)
On April 28, the U.S. Census Bureau released a new set of “demonstration data” to help the data user community evaluate the latest update to the new Disclosure Avoidance System to enhance protection of 2020 Census redistricting. The demonstration data use previously released 2010 Census data to illustrate the impact of the latest iteration of the new system.
The release, in the form of “Privacy-Protected Microdata Files,” was the first to reflect an increase in the “privacy-loss budget” (PLB). The updated release uses a privacy-loss budget of 10.3 for persons and 1.9 for housing units (approximating the anticipated final PLB level). All previous “beta” releases used a privacy-loss budget of 4.0 for persons and 0.5 for housing units for development comparison purposes.
Data users were asked to share their feedback with the Census Bureau by May 28.
Census Scientific Advisory Committee meeting
The Census Scientific Advisory Committee met on May 25, to “address ongoing outreach efforts needed to assist with the designing of a differential privacy suite for the 2020 Census data products that will meet programmatic, legal, and statistical requirements, including work on both the primary and secondary disclosure avoidance systems.”
Census Bureau News
Additional quality metrics regarding the 2020 Census were released on May 28.
The Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations met on May 27. The meeting focused intensively on issues regarding differential privacy.
On May 27, the Census Bureau issued a statement clarifying its plans for using synthetic data in the American Community Survey.
On May 27, the Census Bureau issued a blog detailing the effects of the pandemic on the American Community Series and how the agency adapted.
As part of its series, “America Counts: Stories Behind the Numbers,” on May 26, the Census Bureau released a new infographic, Healthy Life Expectancy at Age 60: 2000 to 2016, showing the life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for adults beyond age 60.
On May 25, the Census Scientific Advisory Committee met to discuss research related to disclosure avoidance and alternatives to differential privacy.
On May 13, the Census Bureau announced a revised schedule for the 2020 Census Count Question Resolution (CQR) program. The purpose of the 2020 Census CQR is to provide a mechanism for governmental units to request a review of their official 2020 Census results and to help ensure that housing and population counts are correctly allocated to 2020 census tabulation blocks in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Census Bureau Data Releases
On May 27, the Census Bureau released Vintage 2020 evaluation estimates of population for cities and towns as well as national, state and county housing unit estimates. Vintage 2020 estimates will continue to be released on a rolling basis through June and made available as a limited number of downloadable datasets.
Small Business and Household Pulse Survey data were released on May 27, May 19, and May 5. On May 17, the Bureau announced the beginning of data collection for Phase 5 of the Small Business Pulse Survey.
Per pupil spending for elementary and secondary public education (pre-K through 12th grade) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia increased by 5.0% to $13,187 per pupil during the 2019 fiscal year, compared to $12,559 per pupil in 2018 according to data released by the Census Bureau on May 18.
On May 13, the Census Bureau released data from the Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll Statistics. The survey provides state and local government data on full- and part-time employment, full-time equivalent employment, and payroll statistics by governmental function.
On May 3, the U.S. Census Bureau released final 2020 annual estimates of housing units authorized by building permits. Data include estimates by nation, census region, census division, state, metropolitan area, county, and permit-issuing place.
News You Can Use
Below are several articles posted on The Census Project home page in May 2021. For a complete listing, go to: https://thecensusproject.org/recent-media/.