NEWS23 March 2018

Boost to US census budget

News North America Public Sector

US – Total funding for the US Census Bureau for 2018 will be $2.8bn –$1.3bn above 2017’s budget – and significantly more than some anticipated.

US 2010 census_crop

Donald Trump had proposed $1.5bn in his budget proposal last year.

Omnibus appropriations legislation for 2018, passed the House of Representatives this week and is expected to pass Senate in due course.

Howard Fienberg, lobbyist for the Insights Association, said: "Congress is finally taking the decennial Census seriously." 

Fienberg said that the report accompanying the bill suggest this money includes contingency funding to quickly tackle any IT and technical problems in decennial preparation as they arise over the year.

It also directs the Bureau to fund the 2020 Census communications and partnership programs ‘at a level of effort and staffing no less than that conducted during fiscal year 2008 in preparation for the 2010 Decennial Census'.

The Insights Association advocated throughout the appropriations process, in cooperation with the Census Project coalition, to improve Census funding and Fienberg described the funding as "a huge win".

"We only get one shot per decade to accurately count every American. The trickle-down impact of an inaccurate 2020 Census would be severe – and last the whole decade. With time running short, we must ensure a fair and accurate decennial headcount," said Fienberg.

Phil Sparks, co-director of the Census Project, said: "The dismal trend of many years of underfunding 2020 Census preparations has finally been reversed with bipartisan support in Congress. Our assessment is the bureau now has the minimum resources needed to prepare for its Constitutional mandate. However, the 2019 funding level will be critical, and supporters of a full, fair, and accurate count will remain vigilant."