September 2019 Census Project Update


Despite last month’s enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2020 and 2021, which jumpstarted negotiations in the U.S. Senate on Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills, Congress and the Administration were unable to agree upon the details of all 12 FY 2020 appropriations bills before the new fiscal year began on October 1, 2019.

Fortunately, a government shutdown was averted when Congress passed, and the President signed into law, a continuing resolution (CR) that keeps the federal government open until November 21, 2019. The CR included an anomaly granting the Census Bureau the authority to spend funding at a faster rate in order to keep Census 2020 operations on track.

If passage of another CR is necessary, census stakeholders are urging Congress and the Administration to provide the Census Bureau with a full-year funding anomaly, which would include $8.175 billion for the Periodic Censuses and Program Account, which includes the 2020 Census. Stakeholders argue that the Census Bureau needs certainty of full-year funding to conduct the count and proceed with final preparations without concern that funding may fall short. There is precedent for similar action–prior to the 2010 Decennial Census, Congress and the President agreed to provide the Census Bureau with a full-year funding anomaly in the first iteration of the FY 2010 CR.

On September 6, the Census Project reflected on the significance of a full-year funding anomaly for the Census Bureau and later reported on letters sent by Senators Peters and Schatz, urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to include a direct, full-year appropriation for the 2020 Census in the CR.

Against the backdrop of the CR deliberations, the Senate Appropriations Committee began moving FY 2020 appropriations bills, including the FY 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which funds the Census Bureau. On September 26, the Committee reported the bill with a proposed funding level of $7.6 billion for the Census Bureau (of which $6.7 billion is designated for the 2020 Census). The amount includes $2.5 billion for the 2020 Census, which was agreed to as part of the recent 2019 Bipartisan Budget Agreement. The House and Senate are working to reconcile a final version of the FY 2020 CJS appropriations bill—ideally before the current CR expires.

Legislative Updates

On August 29, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) wrote to the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security Christopher C. Krebs and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham to inquire “how the agencies are working together to ensure that personally identifiable information will be secured” in the 2020 Census.

Census Bureau Updates

Census Releases Updated ACS data

On September 26, the Census Bureau released comprehensive data from the 2018 American Community Survey. The data included new state and local statistics on income, poverty, and health insurance.

Census Celebrates Constitution Day

Celebrating Constitution Day: See how the Census Bureau celebrated its role in the Constitution at events on September 17 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Census Bureau Launches Updated 2020 Census Website

On September 13, The U.S. Census Bureau launched a new version of its 2020 Census home page ( The Bureau said the “new website adds features, resources and materials to help inform the public about the 2020 Census,” including new Statistics in Schools materials, 2020 Census employment opportunities, and Frequently Asked Questions.

New Members of Census Bureau National Advisory Committee Announced

On September 5, the Census Bureau announced the new members of its National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations.

News You Can Use

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

Tech and the 2020 census
September 30, 2019

Researchers question Census Bureau’s new approach to privacy
Associated Press
September 28, 2019

House Democrats look beyond funding in census preparations
Roll Call
September 23, 2019

Why Businesses Should Pay Attention to the 2020 Census
September 20, 2019

Census Bureau Fights To Prevent Spread of Misinformation
September 13, 2019

How Cities Can Make the 2020 Census a Success
U.S. News & World Report
September 12, 2019

Census Hires Could Make U.S. Jobs Report Less Than Meets the Eye
September 5, 2019