NEWS12 August 2020

US businesses urge census deadline extension

Covid-19 News North America Public Sector

US – A number of US organisations and businesses have called for the census deadline to be pushed back by four months, after operations were disrupted by Covid-19.

graphical US map overlaid with speech bubbles and faces

Nielsen and the Insights Association are among the 87 organisations to have signed a letter to congressional leaders requesting an extension to the statutory reporting deadline, saying that completing the census too early will undermine data quality.

"A rushed census in the midst of the current public health crisis will harm every state, every business, and every industry in the country relying upon the resulting data," the letter said.

The group includes industry bodies, companies and state/local chambers of commerce.

The letter asked for legislation extending the deadline to be included in the next Covid-19 relief package to allow the Census Bureau sufficient time to complete the remaining operations and data review, processing, and tabulation activities.

There are currently low response rate areas in every region, according to the group. "A rushed census could lead to a potentially drastic reduction in political representation, government funding, and, from the business community perspective, private sector investment in such communities," the signatories said. 

Earlier this year, the Census Bureau suspended various field activities and operations due to the pandemic, including a non-response follow up phase.

Last week, almost 900 community and national organisations signed a letter asking for the census deadline to be extended, while four former Census Bureau directors also called for an extension.