The President signed the final omnibus funding bill for Fiscal Year 2017 (H.R. 244) into law on May 5, 2017. It funds the Census Bureau at about $1.47 billion, a more than seven percent increase from FY16 ($1.37 billion) and similar to the amount passed by the House Appropriations Committee . The bill provides $270 million for Current Surveys and Programs (ongoing demographic and economic surveys) and $1.2 billion for Periodic Censuses and Programs, including the decennial Census, American Community Survey (ACS), and this year's Economic Census, as well as IT upgrades needed to prepare for the 2020 Census (CEDCaP).
On April 24, we joined with a number of other business associations in support of as much 2020 Census and ACS funding as possible in FY17 (in letters to the House and Senate). Doing otherwise would be "penny wise and pound foolish."
We also joined letters with our Census Project coalition allies to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, explaining that "increased expenditures" are "needed to plan and then implement the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 End-To- End field test of new, innovative and cost-saving techniques for the 2020 Census. This large-scale field test of 700,000 targeted households next year in Rhode Island, Washington state and West Virginia will be needed to test all elements of the Census Bureau’s plans before taking the 2020 Census. The resources for implementing this critical test are substantial both this fiscal year and next."
As you can see from the Census Project's graph below, we are at a crucial time in the decennial Census funding cycle, where investment is usually spiking up to prepare for the end-to-end readiness test. That does not appear to be the case for FY18, which could spell trouble for executing an accurate and affordable 2020 Census.
We will be back on the hill this week meeting with Congressional staff in search of increased funding in FY2018.
MORE: See the Insights Association 1-page position paper on funding the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey (ACS)