NEWS14 October 2020

US census ends early following Supreme Court decision

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US – The US census will stop collecting data on Thursday ( 15th October) following a ruling by the Supreme Court.

US census questionnaire

On Tuesday the Supreme Court blocked demands for an extension to the data collection period for the census to the end of October, meaning the US Census Bureau was forced to end census data collection early.

The 2020 census had been hit by delays as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant a temporary pause to fieldwork earlier this year.

This had led to calls from various groups to extend the legal deadline for the completion of the census data analysis from 31 December, with four former census bureau chiefs stating the new deadline should be the end of April 2021.

But the Supreme Court has instead backed a Trump administration demand that the original legal deadline be adhered to, and that has forced the census bureau to end fieldwork operations in order to analyse the data before the end of the year.

The US Census Bureau said that 99.9% of housing units had been accounted for, and that field data and self-response collection operations would cease on Thursday 15th October 2020.

The US census helps to determine the number of congressional seats awarded to each state, and therefore the voting power each state has.

In a statement, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US house of representatives, said the Supreme Court’s decision was “regrettable and disappointing” and indicated that congress would seek further action to extend the census.

“The president’s attack on the census count and his refusal to provide time beyond 31st December for submission of the census report clearly violate the constitutional mandate enshrined by our founders for a fair and accurate census,” Pelosi said.

“Further, the president’s actions threaten to politically and financially exclude many in America’s most vulnerable communities from our democracy.

“The house of representatives will continue to fight in the courts and in the congress to ensure that every person has a say in our American Democracy, and to ensure a fair and accurate census as the constitution and our American ideals demand.”