More on Census Funding

The Senate passed the FY 2012 Census Bureau budget. This was for less than in the original White House request and is likely to lead to cuts to Census Bureau programs.

Press Release
The Census Project | November 2, 2011

While the Senate action preserved a trimmed-back version of the 2012 Economic Census of the nation’s businesses, the bill leaves the Census Bureau with insufficient funding “to complete measurement of undercounts and overcounts in the 2010 Census, information that state and local governments are anxious to see, and other evaluations that will improve planning for the 2020 enumeration,” according to a letter sent to both Senate and U.S. House of Representatives leadership by scores of census stakeholder organizations.

Stakeholder letter to Barbara Mikulski (November 2, 2011)

The Senate version of the Census appropriations is $88 million less than the Obama administration requested. It will also lead to other cuts:

. . . the Bureau also would eliminate coverage of group quarters (such as military barracks, college dorms, nursing homes, and prisons) in the American Community Survey (ACS), undermining the accuracy of some characteristics data, such as poverty, age, household composition, and educational attainment, for many communities.

The more drastic House vote will be next.

The Wall Street Journal comments on potential cuts to the Economic Census.

Census Confronts Budget Ax
Ben Casselman |Wall Street Journal
October 31, 2011

House lawmakers, facing record budget deficits, have proposed cutting some funding for the Census Bureau. The bureau says if the cuts go through, it would have to cancel the economic census, a once-every-five-year snapshot of the economy, due again next year, that is the basis for much of the country’s economic data.

Time to Get Down to (Census) Business
Terri Ann Lowenthal | The Census Project Blog
October 6, 2011

At a Senate hearing last spring, Census Director Robert Groves laid out the agency’s guiding principles for designing the next decennial count. At the core of all of them is the stark fiscal reality facing the country: the Census Bureau will have to do more with much less.

No matter how little it is willing to spend on the 2020 census over the long haul, Congress must invest some money upfront for research, testing and design development. The alternative will tie the agency’s hands behind its back until it is too late for meaningful innovation, end-to-end testing to support outcome-based decisions, and timely interaction with community-based partners.

Census: Learning Lessons from the 2010, Planning for the 2020
Robert M. Groves | Director of the Census Bureau
April 6, 2011

See also:
House Bill Guts the Census Bureau Budget

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