The following news feature was provided by The Census Project. View the December 2020 Census Project Update Blog.

December 2020 Update


On December 21, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed two measures combining all 12 Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills and a COVID relief measure, after several continuing resolutions to keep the government open. President Trump signed the package into law on December 27.

The omnibus law (H.R. 133) included $1.106 billion for the U.S. Census Bureau, allocated through two major categories (accounts):

  • PERIODIC CENSUSES AND PROGRAMS – $818,241,000 in direct appropriations.

In addition to this “new” funding, the Appropriations Committees explained that the Census Bureau can spend a total of $1,664,709,000, which is reached by combining prior year funds (a “carry over”) and its FY 2021 direct appropriation. Of this amount, $934,430,000 is for 2020 Census activities. The new law further authorizes the Bureau to tap $91,000,000 in the contingency reserve fund, if necessary, to complete the 2020 Census. Finally, it authorizes the transfer of up to $208,000,000 to the Census Working Capital Fund to renovate the Census Bureau’s headquarters, as the agency prepares to accommodate an eventual relocation of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The final FY 2021 amount roughly meets the funding request of Census Project stakeholders (just over $1.681 billion), as well as the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bills as passed by the House (also just over $1.681 billion) and Senate (just under $1.8 billion).

Read this Census Project blog post for full details on direction provided by the Appropriations Committees in the law’s report language.

Policy Update

Status of 2020 Census Reporting Deadlines

Census stakeholders were disappointed that the omnibus appropriations and COVID relief measure did not include a provision extending the statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting data. Stakeholders continue to advocate for Congress to extend the deadlines as soon as the 117th Congress convenes in January to provide certainty to the Census Bureau’s career experts as they work to finish data processing, tabulate the apportionment counts, and then prepare the redistricting files for the states.

In December, the extension had been argued for by a variety of groups and individuals, including the Congressional Tri-Caucus and the chairman of the Henry County Commission in Georgia.

Census Bureau Releases 2020 Demographic Analysis

On December 15, the Census Bureau released its 2020 Demographic Analysis, with a range of estimates for the nation’s population as of April 1, 2020, using current and historical vital statistics records and other data to estimate the size of the U.S. population. This offers an independent measure of the population for comparison with the official census counts. The estimates are also one of two methods used to measure coverage in the decennial census and to provide insight into what population groups may have been undercounted or overcounted.

More background on census accuracy/coverage

Researchers Bill O’Hare, Cara Brumfield and Jae June Lee also put out a primer on census accuracy and coverage.

Supreme Court punts on Presidential memo that would exclude illegal immigrants from apportionment count

The Supreme Court ruled on December 18, 2020 in the case of Trump v. New York, a challenge to the White House’s memo on the exclusion of illegal immigrants from the 2020 Census apportionment count. Rather than considering the merits of the case, it vacated the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York’s decision and remanded the case “with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction” because the “plaintiffs have not shown standing and because the claims presented are not ripe for adjudication.”

The Trump administration had brought the case to the Supreme Court after a panel of New York federal judges ruled in September that the memo was unlawful.

As explained by the AP, the decision “is not a final ruling on the matter and, while it allows Trump to pursue the plan for now, it’s not clear whether he will receive final numbers from the Census Bureau before he leaves office next month. If the president still has not received final census numbers by the time Joe Biden takes office Jan. 20, Trump’s plan will be effectively dead because Biden is extremely unlikely to pursue it. It’s also possible the Biden administration would take steps to try to reverse decisions made under Trump.”

Census Bureau News

The Census Bureau released a statement on December 31 about reinterviews with non-response follow-up households, part of the 2020 Census’ quality checks.

The Census Bureau noted on December 30 that it would miss its statutory reporting deadlines: “The schedule for reporting this data is not static. Projected dates are fluid. We continue to process the data collected and plan to deliver a complete and accurate state population count for apportionment in early 2021, as close to the statutory deadline as possible.” The Bureau had indicated this would be the case in an update on December 2.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced updated plans for releasing information about quality along with the first results from the census, including releasing an unprecedented number of data quality indicators.

The Bureau celebrated the 5th anniversary of The Opportunity Project (TOP) with a three-day virtual conference.

Census Bureau Data Releases

The U.S. Census Bureau has released an updated version of the interactive data hub on its COVID-19 resource page.

The Annual Capital Expenditures Survey report for data year 2019 was released by the Bureau.

The U.S. Census Bureau published new data for Puerto Rico as part of the 2017 Economic Census of Island Areas.

A new annual data product from the Census Bureau provides demographic characteristics for nonemployer businesses in the United States — the Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics (NES-D).

The U.S. Census Bureau released July​ 1, 2020 estimate​s of the total population and voting-age population for the nation and states.

The U.S. Census Bureau released its 2020 Demographic Analysis, which provides a range of estimates — low, middle and high — for the nation’s population as of April 1, 2020.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the 2020 CPS ASEC Geographic Mobility detailed table package and updates to historical tables and graphs. Geographic mobility and migration both refer to the movement of people from one location of residence to another. These national- and regional-level estimates are from the 2020 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC).

The U.S. Census Bureau released new population estimates and projections for over 200 countries and areas through the year 2100. These data are available from the redesigned International Data Base (IDB) web tool.

New data tables from the 2019 Service Annual Survey (SAS) were released.

The Bureau released new 5-year statistics from the 2015-2019 American Community Survey (ACS).

New data from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program was released, which provides the only up-to-date, single-year income and poverty statistics for the nation’s 3,141 counties and 13,174 school districts.

Newly released estimates came out from the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual America’s Families and Living Arrangements.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the total number of 2020 Census paid temporary workers that earned any pay Nov. 15 – Nov. 21, Nov. 22 – Nov. 28, Nov. 29 – Dec. 5, Dec. 6 – Dec. 12, and Dec. 13 – Dec. 19.

The Bureau released new data from the third phase of the experimental Household Pulse Survey on December 2 and December 16.

The Bureau released new data from the third phase of the Small Business Pulse Survey on December 3, December 10, December 23, and December 30.

News You Can Use

Below are several articles posted on The Census Project home page in December. For a complete listing, go to:

The States With the Best 2020 Census Self-Response Rates
U.S. News & World Report
December 29, 2020

Becerra To Continue Fight To Include Undocumented Immigrants In Census Count
December 28, 2020

The Supreme Court punts, once again, in census ruling
The Hill
December 24, 2020

Alabama may avoid losing seat in Congress, Census estimates suggest
December 23, 2020

As census deadline looms, experts warn rushing count will come at great cost
NBC News
December 20, 2020

Supreme Court Throws Out Challenge To Trump Excluding Undocumented Immigrants From Census
December 18, 2020

Census Bureau count follow ups hurt by pandemic
Federal News Network
December 16, 2020

Insights Association calls for census funding and extension
December 14, 2020

Judge demands Trump administration hand over documents about 2020 Census
The Washington Post
December 11, 2020

Census Bureau says data irregularities being fixed quickly
Associated Press
December 3, 2020

Trump Might Not Get a Chance to Subtract Illegal Immigrants from the Census
National Review
December 3, 2020

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