NEWS22 November 2021

US census funding needed to support 2030 improvements

Inclusion News North America Public Sector Trends

US – Funding for the US Census Bureau should be increased to help make changes to the 2030 census, according to a report from The Census Project.

graphical US map overlaid with speech bubbles and faces

The report, Looking to census 2030, said that funding should be made available to the Census Bureau to ensure it can properly test its planned operations, advertising and outreach activities ahead of the next US census.

The report recommends congress also fund a programme to help state, local and tribal governments defray the cost of participating in the Local Update of Census Addresses operation.

Research into the underlying factors that contribute to the disproportionate undercount of ethnic minorities, renters, and young children should also be carried out, as well as examining the overcount of the non-Hispanic white population. The research should inform new design elements for the 2030 census.

The Census Project represents funders, philanthropy-serving organisations, community-based organisations and other stakeholders in the census, and examines the performance of the 2020 census.

The report recommends that the Census Bureau should research the extent and reasons for noncompletion of online census responses and improve the user interface.

Telephone options for the census should also be better advertised on television and radio, and efforts taken to ensure sufficient telephone staffing capacity and minimal wait times.

Paper forms should also still be available in 2030, and consideration given to increasing the number of paper forms sent to non-responsive households.

The report also recommended using a combined race and Hispanic origin question in the 2030 census, as well as a new Middle Eastern and North African category in the combined race and ethnicity question.

Additional questions on sexual orientation and gender identity could also be added to the American Community Survey and the 2030 census, with research recommended on whether to expand the question on sex to offer more than two options.

The 2030 census should also avoid questions on citizenship or immigration status, according to the report.

The number of languages used should also be expanded, as well as developing an assistance programme for language populations with high rates of limited English proficiency and hiring more bilingual staff.