Received this Census News Brief from Terri Ann Lowenthal. Things are
looking rather bleak at the moment....
SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE SLASHES FY06 FUNDING
FOR 2010 CENSUS AND AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY;
FINAL FIELD TEST AND 2010 IMPROVEMENTS AT RISK
The Senate subcommittee responsible for Census Bureau funding yesterday
slashed the Bush Administrations budget request for fiscal year 2006 by
$150 million, leaving the future of many planned improvements for the
2010 census, as well as the American Community Survey, in doubt for
now. The appropriation of $727,385,000 for all Census Bureau programs
is not only $85 million below the House-passed level of $812,237,000, it
is below the 2005 funding level of $744.798 million.
The Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science
allocated $144.059 million for the American Community Survey (ACS),
roughly the same amount as in 2005. The bureau needs about $170 million
to add group quarters, such as nursing homes, military barracks,
prisons, and college dorms, to the survey for the first time. Without
group quarters, ACS data cannot be compared to data from the Census 2000
long form, and complete five-year averages for smaller geographic areas
would not be available in 2011, as originally planned.
The panel, chaired by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), appropriated $162.990
million for redesigning a short form-only 2010 census. The
Administration requested roughly $213 million to plan and prepare for a
streamlined count. The redesign effort includes the final census field
tests, in Travis County, Texas, and on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation
in South Dakota. Key design changes scheduled for testing include the
use of hand-held computers to collect information in the field from
households that do not respond by mail; dual English-Spanish language
questionnaires; and a targeted second mailing to unresponsive
households. Hand-held computers would eliminate most of the paper
handled by enumerators during the non-response follow-up phase of the
census, saving time, office space, and processing costs. The Census
Bureau has said it will not incorporate any changes in the 2010 census
that have not been fully and successfully tested in advance.
The subcommittee also reduced funding for the Salaries & Expenses
account, which includes ongoing surveys and population estimates
programs, by more than 50 percent.
The Census Bureau has not yet formally commented on the impact of the
Senate subcommittee funding level. However, the bureau said at least
one 2006 test site could be canceled after the House of Representatives
cut $10 million last week from 2010 census redesign funding. A funding
cut on the magnitude proposed by the Senate panel would likely
jeopardize the entire test. The field test cannot be delayed until 2007
because the Census Dress Rehearsal, a dry-run for the actual count,
takes place in 2008.
The full Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the
Commerce-Justice-Science funding bill tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.
New web site for census stakeholders: The Communications Consortium
Media Center, which organized the Census 2000 Initiative several years
ago, has launched a new web site to keep stakeholders informed about key
policy and operational decisions affecting the American Community Survey
and Census 2010 planning.
The Census Project is a coordinated effort by a wide range of
stakeholder organizations to support a comprehensive American Community
Survey and accurate 2010 census. Stakeholder letters to policymakers,
Census News Briefs, and other relevant information are posted at
Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent
consultant in Washington, DC, with support from The Annie E. Casey
Foundation and other organizations. Ms. Lowenthal is also a consultant
to The Census Project, sponsored by the Communications Consortium Media
Center. All views expressed in the News Briefs are solely those of the
author. Please direct questions about the information in this News
Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at 202/484-3067 or by e-mail at
TerriAnn2K(a)aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to
other interested individuals and organizations.
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