Appropriations Update

In May, The Census Project shared with news media its recent letter signed by nearly 80 national, state, and local organizations urging Congress to provide the Census Bureau with $2 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. As noted by The Census Project, “Additional funding above the Administration’s request, is necessary for the agency to not only realize the full potential of several initiatives in the President’s budget, but also to support other priorities identified by census stakeholders—especially 2030 Census preparations and the ACS, which comprise the largest components of the Census Bureau’s Decennial Census account.”

While the House Appropriations Committee has begun halting markup of a few of its funding bills for FY 2024, the full process of considering and approving appropriations bills (especially for the Commerce Justice Science (CJS) appropriations legislation, which funds the Census Bureau) cannot commence until the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are given their top-line budget (the 302(a) allocation), as well as the breakdown of that spending among all 12 subcommittee jurisdictions (the 302(b) allocations). That requires either the approval of an FY 2024 budget or the legislative bodies to “deem” a budget (a shortcut in which the House and/or Senate declares a budget level by which to abide).

However, none of those steps appear likely to happen until Congress passes an agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling before June 5. Once a debt ceiling deal is enacted, Congress will likely agree on a budget, or deem a budget, and the appropriations process will kick into gear. However, time will be tight to pass appropriations bills through both chambers of Congress and send to the President before FY 2024 begins on October 1, 2023.

ACS: America’s Data at Risk

A year after warning the nation that “…America’s essential data are at risk, the Census Project released on May 4 a comprehensive update to a white paper that issues a clarion call to the nation for new investments in the country’s data infrastructure.

ACS: America’s Essential Economic and Social Data at Risk” is a detailed status report on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), especially how pervasive and essential the survey is to power the nation’s economic, social and community progress. The new report includes support from a bipartisan range of national, state, and local experts attesting to the survey’s utility and value, and new and expanded sections on uses of the ACS, including for veterans, business and community development, and healthcare.

The Census Project has already shared the report with Capitol Hill and encourages census stakeholders to read the report and share it widely.

Policy Update

New Fact Sheet Released, “Data Equity for Deaf Communities” 
On May 31, the Center on Poverty and Inequality at the Georgetown University School of Law released a new fact sheet, “Data Equity for Deaf Communities.” The fact sheet highlights the undercount and underrepresentation of Deaf or hard-of-hearing people, which is linked to the Census Bureau’s failure to collect data about their primary languages—American Sign Language and other signed languages. The fact sheet offers recommendations to improve engagement with Deaf and hard-of-hearing people and collect complete and accurate data. The recommendations include recognizing signed languages as separate from spoken languages; updating ableist language in survey questions; providing additional and equally accessible methods for responding to censuses and surveys; and, recruiting enumerators fluent in sign language to improve data collection.

Report on Census Undercount of Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities  
“While Asian American and NHPI communities were overcounted nationally” in the 2020 Census, according to a new report from Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), “some states had undercounts in both 2010 and 2020. This is a problem because, despite a reported national overcount of these communities in 2020, some Asian American and NHPI communities were still undercounted at lower levels of geography.” The report also found disparities in the undercount of young children, which, while “common in other racial and ethnic groups,” it “also exists among Asian Americans” and “is not evenly distributed throughout the country.” AAJC discovered, by contrast, that Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) young children were not undercounted and urged further research to help determine why.

New Report on Where to Count the Prison Population 
A new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) looks at “how states account for people who are incarcerated at the time redistricting occurs—also known as prisoner reallocation, prison gerrymandering reform or, as NCSL refers to it, inmate data reallocation. By whatever name it’s given, the process subtracts inmates’ data from the location where they are incarcerated and adds it to the place they called home before their imprisonment.” Some advocacy groups want the Census Bureau to count prisoners at where they used to live, rather than where they are incarcerated.

Study on Poverty Measurement Sparks Controversy
A new study from the National Academies urging the Census Bureau to update the methodology for calculating the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) also recommended “that the more comprehensive SPM replace the current Official Poverty Measure as the primary statistical measure of poverty the Census Bureau uses.”

However, Scott Winship, Director of Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) argued in a white paper that the Academies panel “attempted to entrench a specific type of poverty measure further into the bureaucracy of federal statistics without regard to the fundamental question of what best informs public understanding of the needs of poor Americans. The evidence suggests that key features of the SPM make it less accurate at identifying the poor than” the official poverty measure in use today.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) responded to the controversy by urging the Census Bureau to “disregard these recommendations and commission a new, politically balanced report.”

Measuring Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity on the ACS
A recent working paper from the Census Bureau presented at the Conference of European Statisticians outlined the Bureau’s current work to test sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) questions on the American Community Survey (ACS).

Census Bureau News

The U.S. Census Bureau is holding a webinar on June 8 before the release of two new embargoed data products: the Selected Population Tables and American Indian and Alaska Native Tables from the 2017-2021 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data.

A Bureau blog addressed the issue of “age heaping” in the 2020 Census Demographic and Housing Characteristics File (DHC).

Another Bureau blog looked at racial and ethnic diversity through the lens of the DHC.

Another Bureau blog discussed the application of disclosure avoidance to the DHC.

The Bureau announced the winners of the first phase of the StatVentures Supply Chain Challenge. StatVentures is a pioneering initiative of Census Open Innovation Labs (COIL) aimed at enhancing data collection methods through new technologies and outside collaborations.

Deputy Director Ron Jarmin blogged about providing data users with accessible data.

The U.S. Census Bureau launched the Business and Owner Demographic Characteristics webpage, creating a one-stop shop for its economic surveys that measure demographic data for businesses and business owners.

Census Bureau Director Rob Santos blogged in celebration of Public Service Recognition Week.

Census Bureau researchers joined others from across the nation to present findings at the 78th Annual American Association for Public Opinion Research Conference.

Census Bureau Data Releases

The Census Bureau released a report outlining 2020 Census population results used to determine each state’s share of congressional seats for the next decade until the 2030 Census. While the apportionment results were released in April 2021, this report provides written context of trends in congressional apportionment, makeup of the apportionment population, distribution of seats among the states and the method used for calculation.

Director Santos blogged about upcoming Census Bureau data releases.

On May 31, the Bureau announced its plans to release two of the remaining 2020 Census Data Products in September.

The U.S. Census Bureau released a new report, “Persistent Poverty in Counties and Census Tracts.” While definitions vary, geographies are typically considered to be in persistent poverty if they maintained poverty rates of 20% or more for 30 years.

The Bureau released the 2020 Census Demographic Profile and Demographic and Housing Characteristics File (DHC) on May 25. These products provide the next round of data available from the 2020 Census, adding more detail to the population counts and basic demographic and housing statistics previously released for the purposes of congressional apportionment and legislative redistricting. The Bureau also hosted a webinar in advance.

The U.S. Census Bureau released new data from phase 3.8 of the experimental Household Pulse Survey (HPS) on May 17.

Nine of the nation’s 15 fastest-growing cities were in the South, according to Vintage 2022 Population Estimatesreleased by the U.S. Census Bureau. Of the nine fastest-growing cities in the South, six were in Texas. New estimates for metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas and for housing units at the national, state and county levels were also released. (The data were embargoed for two days.)

The Bureau released new Business Formation Statistics (BFS) for April.

The U.S. Census Bureau released data from the Business Trends and Outlook Survey (BTOS) on May 11, a survey that measures business conditions on an ongoing basis. 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.

Nationally, public school spending per student experienced the largest fiscal year-to-year increase since 2008, up 6.3% to $14,347, according to new data from the 2021 Annual Survey of School System Finances released by the U.S. Census Bureau. This spending is up from $13,501 in FY 2020. Public school spending per pupil in the 50 states and the District of Columbia also increased for the 10th year in a row in fiscal year 2021.

Women owned 41.1% of the nation’s businesses without paid employees and had $313.6 billion in receipts in 2019, according to the latest Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics (NES-D) released from the U.S. Census Bureau. Minorities, those classified as any race and ethnic combination other than non-Hispanic and White, owned 35.3% of businesses without paid employees and had $342.9 billion in receipts in 2019. This release also includes demographic data by urban and rural classification, receipt size of firm, and legal form of organization plus characteristics of nonemployer business owners.

Voter turnout for the 2022 U.S. congressional elections was the second highest for a nonpresidential election year since 2000, with 52.2% of the citizen voting-age population participating. And registration rates were the highest for a midterm election since 2000, with 69.1% of the citizen voting-age population registered to vote, up 2.2 percentage points from 66.9% in 2018, according to Current Population Survey (CPS) data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Bureau released final 2022 annual estimates of housing units authorized by building permits. Data include estimates at the national level, census region, census division, state, metropolitan area, county, and permit-issuing place. Two new accompanying map-based data visualizations allow users to view and compare data at the state, county, and metro areas with greater ease than ever before.

News You Can Use

Below are several articles posted on The Census Project home page in May 2023. For a complete listing, go to: https://thecensusproject.org/recent-media/.

Hawaii Has Largest Share of America’s ‘Oldest-Old’ People: Census Data
The Messenger
May 26, 2023

What the 2020 census can — and can’t — tell us about LGBTQ people 
NPR
May 25, 2023

Young adults in the U.S. are reaching key life milestones later than in the past
Pew Research Center
May 23, 2023

We have this vicious cycle’: U.S. Census report identifies ‘persistent poverty’ in West Virginia
WV News
May 21, 2023

A census mistake reveals surprising details about U.S. Hispanics and Latinos
The Washington Post
May 19, 2023

CALLS FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY
ResearchLive
May 16, 2023

Phoenix mayor says the population of the city was undercounted by U.S. Census Bureau
KJZZ and Associated Press
May 15, 2023

US Census refuses to adjust 2020 Detroit estimates despite city’s challenge
WDET
May 15, 2023

The 2020 census may have missed a big share of noncitizens, the bureau estimates
NPR
May 9, 2023

With detailed race question, Census may end ancestry ask
Associated Press
May 5, 2023

‘Every seat matters’: Redistricting poised to boost House GOP in 2024
NBC News
May 3, 2023

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