While the COVID-19 crisis “caused massive disruptions to the decennial census, which the Census Bureau is still trying to clean up… it also laid the groundwork for massive changes to the way the federal government looks at data.”
As an article in Roll Call explains, the Bureau had to delay, suspend and restart counting and outreach operations in 2020 that had been "years in the making," tossing plans "out the window." It also had to contend with legal deadlines that the Bureau couldn’t, as a result, realistically meet.
In addition to expanded use of administrative records, the Bureau has been producing two short-term surveys, the Household Pulse Survey and Small Business Pulse Survey. As the article continued:
Howard Fienberg, vice president of the marketing research and data analytics industry trade group, Insights Association, said the surveys offer a glimpse of what the government can do to leverage its existing resources for immediately useful data.
"That's the kind of survey our members do every day, whoop-de-doo. But for a government agency to be able to do that, in a government bureaucracy, that's massive," Fienberg said.