Appropriations Update

The current fiscal year (FY) 2021, ended on September 30. Given the lack of progress made on passing FY 2022 appropriations bills, Congress and the White House agreed to enact a short-term spending bill, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open. The CR passed, with hours to spare in the fiscal year, funding the federal government through December 3, 2021.

Typically, except for a few “anomalies,” CRs hold spending for federal agencies at the previous year’s level. For this initial FY 2022 CR, the White House submitted a list of anomaly requests. As part of its list, the White House urged Congress to include an anomaly for the Census Bureau. Specifically, the anomaly would have provided the Census Bureau with sufficient funds to deliver 2020 Census data products, begin planning for the 2030 Census, maintain peak operations of the Economic Census, and support innovations as part of the Data Ingest and Collection for the Enterprise (DICE) program. The Census Project organized a sign-on letter urging Congress to include the Census Bureau anomaly in the FY 2022 CR.

Given pressures to limit the number of spending anomalies, the CR did not authorize one for the Census Bureau. Unofficially, the Census Bureau said that because of recent spending and saving strategies, the agency will be able to sustain all current activities for the duration of this CR. However, if it becomes necessary to enact another CR to keep the government open beyond the end of the calendar year, the Census Bureau will need a funding anomaly to support decennial census activities, the 2022 Economic Census, and the DICE program.

Ideally, Congress and the White House will agree upon and pass all 12 FY 2022 appropriations bills before the current CR expires in early December. The Census Project continues to urge Congress to provide the Census Bureau with $2 billion in FY 2022—a figure endorsed by numerous national, state, and local organizations and over 30 members of the U.S. Senate.

Policy Update

ASA 2020 Census Quality Indicators Task Force Evaluation Released
On September 14, the American Statistical Association’s 2020 Census Quality Indicators Task Force issued a final evaluation of the 2020 Census state-level apportionment numbers. It examined 10 process statistics relating to the collection and post-data collection operations of the 2020 Census, including Master Address File (MAF) development, self-response, nonresponse follow-up (NRFU), data compilation and processing, and group quarters enumeration.

The task force concluded that:

  1. “Indicators released to date by the bureau do not permit a thorough assessment of the 2020 Census data quality.”
  2. “Despite concerns that census numbers could be jeopardized by political interference, the task force found no evidence of anything other than an independent and professional enumeration process by the Census Bureau. The bureau appropriately delayed release of data products to ensure careful review and processing of the data according to bureau quality standards.”
  3. “Across the limited set of state-level process statistics evaluated by the task force, it found no major anomalies that would indicate census numbers are not fit for use for purposes of apportionment.”
  4. “The task force’s ability to more thoroughly evaluate the quality, accuracy, and coverage of the 2020 Census has been hampered by limits on available information and research.”
  5. “The set of process statistics evaluated by the task force is relevant for evaluating the quality of census numbers for apportionment, but not redistricting or distribution of federal funds. These and other assessments require scrutiny at more detailed levels of geography and subgroups of the population.”

More information and a link to the report was posted in a Census Project blog.

Census Bureau News

On September 1, the Census Bureau announced that it would be releasing easier-to-use formats of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data on September 16.

Three new members to the Census Scientific Advisory Committee were officially unveiled on September 7.

Data from the Small Business Pulse Surveys were released on September 2, September 9, September 16, and September 23.

The Census Bureau paid temporary workers on September 7,  September 14, and September 21.

On September 16, the Census Bureau announced that is accepting feedback on proposed 2020 Census data products (beyond redistricting) through October 22, 2021. The data products include proposed data tables for the 2020 Census Demographic Profile, Demographic and Housing Characteristics File, and Detailed Demographic and Housing Characteristics File.

Census Bureau Data Releases

On September 16, the Bureau released Comparative and Bridge Statistics reports from the 2017 Economic Census.

Data from the 2019 Survey of Income and Program Participation were released on September 19.

2021 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement data regarding income, poverty, and health insurance coverage were released on September 14.

Migration statistics from the 2015-2019 American Community Survey (ACS) were released on September 2.

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