For the first time in our history, the U.S. census will prioritize collecting responses online. In practice, this means that most households will get a letter in the mail directing them to fill out a form on a website. For households that do not respond, letters with paper forms may follow, and a census taker could eventually be sent to collect the data in person. But in light of the effort to increase internet responses, there will be a reduced effort to call on homes, knock on doors, and get responses in the mail. In fact, the Census Bureau has planned to hire 125,000 fewer staff members than during the last go-around 10 years ago, because it is counting on this online effort, in conjunction with local resources, to secure participation.
Jonathan Weinhagen, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber wrote this piece for the Star Tribune June 18, 2019.
Businesses rely on accurate census data to make smart decisions about where to invest and how many employees we hire. It’s also the basis of federal funding decisions to invest in infrastructure essential to Minnesota.
We depend on a welcoming culture to help meet our workforce needs and drive the next cycle of innovation and growth. All these issues are at stake in the fight over the Trump administration’s efforts to politicize the census. We are speaking up about this issue not despite being business leaders, but because of it.
Despite years of warnings, census experts worry it’s likely that children younger than 5 will be undercounted again in next year’s survey – and that could mean more difficulty for low-income families reliant on government-backed services.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks is awareness. Many households do not include young children when they return their census forms, according to people who study the population and demographics.
Young children are difficult to count for many reasons, said Bill O’Hare, a census expert for the Count All Kids Committee.
Indigenous people are the most undercounted and one of the hardest to count populations in the U.S. The threat of an undercount puts North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota at risk of missing out on federal funding for health care, roads and schools, and tribal nations within the states at risk of missing out on dollars for housing and employment programs. To boot, the upcoming census is considered “at risk,” according to the Government Accountability Office, as it faces a lack of funding and preparedness. Now with the official count less than a year away, tribes across the Dakotas and Minnesota have started organizing efforts in the hopes of being tallied.
With the legal fight to block a citizenship question from the 2020 census behind them, immigrant rights groups and other advocates are now turning toward what they consider an even greater challenge — getting every person living in the U.S. counted.
Activists are trying to soften ground hardened by a more than yearlong legal battle by using community meetings and street outreach in these final months before the constitutionally mandated head count of U.S. residents begins. The census is set to officially begin in January in remote Alaska before rolling out to the rest of the country by April.
With a census just two years away, the Census Bureau has a cybersecurity problem.
That’s a key takeaway from the congressional watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, which oversees the government’s spending. In a new report published Thursday, the non-partisan agency said that the government’s Census Bureau has only a few months to fix thousands of security vulnerabilities that may put personal citizen data at risk.
The 2020 Census and the ACS are currently facing fiscal, operational, and policy threats that could jeopardize a fair and accurate count, which would weaken data used by the health care, education, housing, local government, transportation, and manufacturing sectors and could reduce federal funding of critical programs. Stakeholders should engage now in efforts to protect these crucial data collection activities.
As the U.S. government closed a public comment period on August 7 on its plans for the 2020 census, scientists, philanthropists and civil rights groups used the occasion to again criticize plans to include a question about U.S. citizenship.
The head of the U.S. Census Bureau says the controversy over a new question about U.S. citizenship on the 2020 census is complicating its preparations to conduct a national head count.
For the first time since 1950, the Census Bureau will ask all U.S. households about citizenship status, specifically, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"