On May 9, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FY2013 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5326) that dramatically affects the Periodic Censuses and Programs. It effectively terminates the annual American Community Survey, eliminates the 2012 Economic Census, and halts several projects for preparing the 2020 census.
The American Community Survey (ACS), which replaced the decennial Census long form, is our country’s only source of small area estimates on social and demographic characteristics. There is no substitute from the private sector for ACS. Critical data on education attainment, household income, poverty rates, commuting patterns, among a lot more key socio-economic information, rely on ACS. Regional planning agencies, like SEMCOG, use ACS data to estimate and forecast infrastructure needs and plan for future growth. Local communities use ACS to choose locations for new schools, senior centers, hospitals, and fire stations. Even if the funding problems were solved in the proposed budget, the House bill also bans enforcement of the mandatory nature of participation in the ACS. This alone would require millions more in funding to achieve the same precision of the current ACS estimates.
For all of these reasons, we urge the U.S. Congress to continue its support for a comprehensive and statistically valid American Community Survey and other census projects. Now, the Senate will take on a similar bill. It will then take a joint committee to reconcile the bills before it reaches the President’s desk. Please contact your Congress members to express your support on Census data!
You must be logged in comment. Log in or Register to comment.