Appropriations Update

The White House issued its Fiscal Year 2024 (FY 2024) budget on March 9, 2023, including $1.606 billion for the Census Bureau — a $121 million increase from the $1.485 billion appropriated in FY 2023. Congress, especially the House and Senate Commerce, Science, Justice Appropriations Subcommittees, which have jurisdiction over the Census Bureau’s funding, will now consider the President’s request as it finalizes the Census Bureau’s FY 2024 budget.

While welcoming the proposed increase, Census Project stakeholders urged Congress to provide the agency with $2 billion ($394 million more than the President’s request, and a $521 million increase from FY 2023) in FY 2024.

The Administration’s request supports a number of important initiatives, but it does not include sufficient additional funding to support other priorities identified by the census stakeholder community. Additional funding, above the Administration’s request, is necessary for the agency to not only realize the full potential of several initiatives outlined in the Census Bureau’s proposed FY 2024 budget request, but also to support other priorities identified by census stakeholders.

The Census Project’s FY 2024 funding recommendation provides detailed background on the Administration’s proposed budget, as it relates to transforming the Bureau’s data infrastructure, investing in Decennial Census programs, and completing the Economic Census and economic data innovations.

The Census Project recommendation also explains the need for additional investments in enhancing the American Community Survey (ACS), improving the Population Estimates, maximizing investment in 2030 Census preparations, and prioritizing the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

Read the full details of The Census Project’s FY 2024 funding recommendation for the Census Bureau.

Census Bureau to brief stakeholders on budget April 3

On Tuesday, April 4, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. ET, The Census Project will sponsor a briefing to share more details of the Census Bureau’s FY 2024 budget request. Senior Census Bureau officials will share the details and answer questions in this off-the-record session. If you can attend, please submit your RSVP by 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday, April 3.

The briefing is closed to the press.

Congressional Dear Colleague letters, and outside testimony

Dear Colleague letters circulated for signatures in the House and Senate in March in support of funding for the Census Bureau. The House Dear Colleague letter, which was led by Representative Chu (D-CA) garnered 45 signatures from Democratic and Republican members alike. We will share the Senate letter, led by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Tina Smith (D-MN), once it is available.

Meanwhile, stakeholders can still help to advance Census Bureau funding priorities by sharing their own written testimony with the U.S. House and U.S. Senate Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittees – due by April 24, 2023 in the House and May 12 in the Senate. Read this Census Project blog for details and instructions.

Policy Update 

Former Census Director Barbara Bryant Passes Away 

Barbara Everitt Bryant, the first woman to head the U.S. Census Bureau, died on March 23, 2023.

As explained by NPR, in an exploration of her life and legacy, “A market researcher, Bryant oversaw the 1990 count as an appointee of former President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Her assignment broke two centuries of men leading the national head count that’s used to determine political representation, beginning with then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson in 1790… Bryant, who served as director from 1989 to 1993, was one of only two women who have ever led the bureau.”

A story in The New York Times also provided more background.

Proposals to Radically Grow the House of Representatives

A Washington Post column on February 28, 2023 argued in favor of radically expanding the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. A couple of recent congressional bills agree:

  • The Equal Voices Act (H.R. 643), introduced by Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL-06), would “require that the average number of constituents represented by a Member from any State” would be “equivalent to the number of constituents represented by the Member from the least populous State and to apportion Representatives among the States accordingly.”
  • The Restoring Equal and Accountable Legislators in the House Act (REAL House Act) (H.R. 622), introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), would expand the number of House seats for the post-2030 Census redistricting to 585, with increases at each census thereafter.

Read this Census Project blog post for more details.

Commerce Department Inspector General Criticizes Bureau’s Ask U.S. Panel

The Office of the Inspector General (IG) for the U.S. Commerce Department issued a final report on February 27, 2023 (OIG-23-011-I) of the office’s investigation into the Ask U.S. Panel project, noting that “the Bureau’s management and oversight of the cooperative agreement lacked transparency over key financial assistance award processes” and that the Bureau was providing funding to a private entity “without validating costs.” Further, the IG found that the Census Bureau “did not document research or analysis conducted to determine whether the need for the Ask U.S. Panel could be met by existing commercial platforms or developed internally.”

Civil rights groups request more time for comments on OMB Race and Ethnicity Standards

National Urban League and the NALEO Educational Fund requested an additional 90 days to respond to OMB’s Federal Register Notice seeking input on the proposed revised standards for race and ethnicity data collection. Comments are currently due by April 12.

Census Bureau News

Census Director Robert Santos reported in a blog post on the “tremendous response” to the Bureau’s 2030 Census Federal Register Notice, noting that, “the comments you submitted are critical to our planning and execution of the next census.”

The U.S. Census Bureau began accepting requests for special census cost estimates on March 30. The Special Census Program is offered each decade to provide local jurisdictions with an enumeration of their population, housing units, group quarters and transitory locations between decennial censuses. The program previously closed on Sept. 30, 2018, to accommodate the taking of the 2020 Census. The program resumed, and will conclude by Sept. 30, 2028, ahead of the 2030 Census.

Director Santos also blogged as the March 15 deadline approached to urge response to the Economic Census, while Nick Orsini, Associate Director for Economic Programs, blogged about data collection for it in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico (collectively referred to as the Island Areas).

Census Deputy Director Roger Jarmin blogged about using Census Bureau tools and data to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced updates for upcoming 2020 Census data products. Among them, the Census Bureau plans to release the Demographic and Housing Characteristics File (DHC) and Demographic Profile on May 25. These 2020 Census data products provide demographic and housing characteristics of local communities.

The Bureau announced the beginning of data collection for phase 3.8 of the experimental Household Pulse Survey (HPS).

Director Santos released a statement in remembrance of Barbara Bryant.

The Bureau released version 5.1 of the Census Business Builder tool.

Census Bureau Data Releases

The Bureau released results showing how people who identify as being of Hispanic or Latino origin (referred to as the Hispanic population) self-reported their race in the 2020 Census.

The Bureau released new data from phase 3.8 of the experimental Household Pulse Survey (HPS).

The U.S. Census Bureau released data from the Business Trends and Outlook Survey (BTOS), a survey that measures business conditions on an ongoing basis on March 2March 16, and March 30. The BTOS is the successor to the Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS), a high-frequency survey that measured the effect of changing business conditions during the coronavirus pandemic and other major events like hurricanes on our nation’s small businesses.

After some of the nation’s most populous counties experienced significant outmigration and population declines in 2021, overall patterns of population growth and decline are moving towards pre-pandemic rates for the nation’s 3,144 counties according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 estimates of population and components of change. All 10 of the top fastest-growing counties were in the South or West.

The Bureau released new Business Formation Statistics (BFS) for January 2023. The BFS provide timely and high frequency information on new business applications and formations in the United States.

The U.S. Census Bureau released preliminary data from the Annual Business Survey (ABS) showing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses. The data provided include percentage of firms classified by sex, ethnicity, race and veteran status of the business.

The U.S. Census Bureau released new Quarterly Services Survey (QSS) estimates that include the addition of 40 seasonally adjusted series to the Quarterly Services Report. Seasonal adjustment is important because it addresses seasonal patterns that can otherwise mask underlying economic conditions.

U.S. capital expenditures for robotic equipment totaled $11,536 million and accounted for 1.1% of total equipment expenditures in 2021, according to new Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES) estimates. ACES estimates by kind of business add detail to national-level estimates of investment in machinery and equipment.

According to one of the Bureau’s American Counts: Stories, Texas is now one of only two U.S. states with a population of 30 million or more: the nation’s second-most-populous state reached a population milestone by passing the 30-million threshold.

News You Can Use

Below are several articles posted on The Census Project home page in March 2023.  For a complete listing, go to:

Should Latinos Be Considered a Race?
The New Yorker
March 25, 2023

2023 Census: Over 15K households required to complete test
March 22, 2023

Why federal LGBTQI+ data collection should concern state, local officials
March 20, 2023

The gerrymander myth
March 17, 2023

US Government Rethinking Race, Ethnicity Classifications
March 17, 2023

The Census Bureau gets a report card on how it learns its lessons
Federal News Network
March 15, 2023

Three Million U.S. Households Making Over $150,000 Are Still Renters
The Wall Street Journal
March 13, 2023

Census Bureau, it turns out, didn’t spend as much as once thought
Federal News Network
March 7, 2023

Census data reveals over half a million left California during the pandemic
CBS News
March 5, 2023

March 3, 2023

The antipoverty effects of the expanded Child Tax Credit across states: Where were the historic reductions felt?
March 1, 2023

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