NEWS26 June 2020

US senate asked for $400m census funds

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US – Census experts have called on the US senate to provide $400m in contingency funds to deal with any Covid-19-related disruption to the 2020 census.

US Congress

In a letter from 148 census stakeholder groups representing local, state and national organisations, the senate was asked to approve the allocation of money which was recently included in a Covid-19 relief bill in the US house of representatives for this year’s census.

Covid-19 is estimated to cost the census $1.5bn through issues like providing protective equipment and new technology, according to the Census Bureau, and the letter says this will deplete existing contingency funds.

The letter says that there was a risk of natural disasters, IT failures and a second wave of Covid-19 preventing public cooperation in the door-to-door phase of census taking, as well as requiring further contingency funds.

Howard Fienberg, co-director of the Census Project, which organised the letter, said: “The virus has been the big disruptor to census operations, but history demonstrates other risks of disruption to any census.

“Prudence and history dictate being prepared with contingency funds for any further emergencies.”