NEWS14 December 2020

Insights Association calls for census funding and extension

Covid-19 News North America Public Sector Trends US Election

US – The Insights Association (IA), the trade body for the US market research industry, has called for the 2020 census data reporting deadlines to be extended by the incoming Joe Biden administration.

US census questionnaire

In a letter to the president-elect, the IA set out five priorities for the next four years, following Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election last month. Biden will take office on 20th January.

The letter calls for the 2020 census data reporting deadlines to be extended to allow more time to complete data processing, review and analysis in light of Covid-19.

Fieldwork had been paused earlier this year during the Covid-19 lockdowns in many US states, but in October the Supreme Court blocked demands for an extension to the data collection period for the census, meaning the US Census Bureau was forced to end census data collection earlier than hoped.

The IA’s letter also suggests using independent metrics to assess the quality, accuracy and coverage of the 2020 census, and to provide “robust investment” for the Census Bureau in the 2022 federal budget.

The letter requests the appointment of a qualified secretary of commerce who is “committed to ensuring the accuracy, reliability and availability of census data and the integrity and scientific independence of the Census Bureau”.

With the current director of the Census Bureau’s term of office ending next year, the IA also calls on Biden to appoint a new director who has “demonstrated ability in managing large organisations and experience in the collection, analysis, and use of statistical data”, as well as a keen understanding of and experience in logistics, technology and planning.

A new Census Business Advisory Committee, with members appointed by the director of the Census Bureau, should also be created, the letter states, “to provide expertise and input from the business community to address Census Bureau programme needs and objectives”.