The big budget deal signed into law this morning (after a momentary government shutdown) includes a much-needed boost in funding to prepare for the 2020 Census.
As the Insights Association sought, Congress bumped up funding for the Census Bureau in the continuing appropriations resolution which runs until March 25. The agreement adds a big anomaly, $182 million above the FY2017 funding level. While still short of the Administration's revised request, House and Senate leaders have clearly gotten our message that the 2020 Census is in serious danger
The White House originally requested $1.49 billion for the Census Bureau in Fiscal Year 2018, a mere $20 million increase (one percent) above the funding level in the final FY17 law ($1.47 billion). The House-passed FY18 CJS appropriations bill included $1.51 billion for the the Bureau ($37 million above FY17 and $10 million more than the original request) while the Senate version offered $1.521 billion ($14 million more than the House, $51 million more than FY17, and $24 million more than the original request). Those levels were obviated when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said this fall that the Census Bureau needed a whole lot more money than previously expected to pull off the 2020 headcount. Just for FY2018: $817 million above the original FY18 White House request, primarily for IT improvements, bringing the total request to $1.66 billion. Even that level probably isn't enough, since a Census Project expert estimates that the Bureau needs at least $1.84 billion in FY18.
Accurate Census data are essential to producing any statistically representative research studies in the United States. As the Insights Association, representing the marketing research and analytics industry, explained in a letter we led with 21 U.S. business groups, "With every other survey in the U.S. built on the population totals from the decennial count, the trickle-down impact of an inaccurate 2020 Census would be severe."
Between letters, emails, calls and meetings, the Insights Association will continue to hammer for the funding needed to pull off an accurate 2020 Census.
Other Census-related items: