The Insights Association recently joined with over 200 other organizations and companies in urging Congress to “provide full-year funding for the 2020 Census as soon as possible.” With the latest Continuing Resolution funding the federal government, including the Census Bureau, expising on December 20, 2019, IA is worried about the Bureau getting the funding certainty necessary to fully roll out and complete the decennial headcount, especially since "the constitutionally mandated 2020 Census has already started."

As explained in the Census Project coalition letter, that funding would need to be at least at the $6.7 billion level previously approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee for Fiscal Year 2020, and agreed to by both House and Senate in the most recent CR. We're agnostic on how the funding gets done, just that it get done, “whether as part of a package of final spending bills or in a new Continuing Resolution — whichever vehicle will be enacted first in the coming weeks.” Thankfully, news reports yesterday indicate that negotiators have an agreement in principle to complete all of their appropriations bills next week, before the CR expires, averting a potential government shutdown.

As our letter warned, “The window of opportunity to ensure a successful 2020 Census in all communities is closing.”

“Twelve weeks after the most recent FY20 Continuing Resolution (CR) (P.L. 116-69) is due to expire on December 20, U.S. households will begin receiving their 2020 Census materials, by mail or hand-delivery. Major census operations have already begun and critical final steps — from recruiting and screening staff, to verifying addresses, to finalizing outreach and advertising plans — are finished or underway. We are grateful that the latest CR, funding the federal government through December 20, provides the Census Bureau with a temporary spending rate of $7.3 billion for the Periodic Censuses and Programs account, which includes a spending rate of at least $6.7 billion for the 2020 Census, for the duration of the CR,” but without “sufficient, on-time resources,” the letter continued, “an accurate count is jeopardized.”

The Census Bureau requires “the certainty of full-year funding for the 2020 Census now, so that it can commit necessary resources for final preparations, major operations, and expanded activities targeting hard-to-count communities in rural, suburban and urban areas, without concern that its funding may fall short of need.”

For the marketing research and data analytics industry, an “inaccurate census resulting from delayed or insufficient funding would” potentially corrupt the quality of data on which we rely for benchmarking and necessary for the constructing reliable statistical samples in the United States.