Unprecedented, Broad Based Coalition Calls on Congress to Increase Funding for 2020 Census Planning Next Month

For Release
Nov. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON–Representatives of a coalition of almost 100 business, civic and academic groups called on congressional appropriators to fulfill the Trump Administration’s request for additional funds for the Census Bureau to ensure a robust, fair and complete planning phase for the 2020 decennial count. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently testified before House and Senate committees to request an additional $187 million above the Administration’s previous request for FY 2018, which is to be finalized next month in an omnibus Continuing Resolution.

“The FY 2018 appropriations process is a just-in-time opportunity to remedy these oversights and get our constitutionally-mandated 2020 Census back on track,” wrote the remarkable coalition of almost 100 national and regional organizations. The letter was organized by the Census Project, a coalition of state and local governments, business and industry, civil rights and labor groups, housing and child advocates, and research and professional organizations that support a complete, fair and accurate census.

The letter also urged Congress to add to the secretary’s request and immediately fund delayed testing, advertising, outreach, partnership and promotion activities that in the past have been proven to increase public cooperation and make the national head count more efficient. “These operations help reduce costs by boosting self-response and increase accuracy by targeting messages to historically hard to count communities,” the groups wrote in their letter to Congress.

“Decennial census data are central to our democracy, affecting not only apportionment and redistricting, but also the distribution of approximately $600 billion in federal assistance to states and localities each year,” said Phil Sparks of the Census Project.

“Without a permanent Census Bureau director, the secretary now owns day-to-day management of the Bureau, and Congress should heed his request and ensure the country can fulfill this constitutional mandate. Time is of the essence,” Sparks said.

The full text of the letter and all co-signers can be found on the Census Project website.