From: APDUmem-bounces(a)apdu.org [mailto:APDUmememail@example.com]On Behalf Of Deborah Gona
Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2005 10:16 PM
Subject: [APDU] FW: TIME SENSITIVE: Census News Brief
Forward of the latest Census News Brief. The contents of the Brief have been inserted into
the body of this message.
From: Terriann2K(a)aol.com [mailto:Terriann2K@aol.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2005 9:42 PM
Subject: TIME SENSITIVE: Census News Brief
Dear census stakeholders:
Attached please find the latest Census News Brief with information about the status of the
Census Bureau's fiscal year 2006 appropriations bill.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to consider the bill on Tuesday, and
congressional sources have indicated that some lawmakers may offer amendments targeting
American Community Survey and 2010 census planning funds to pay for other programs in the
Science/State/Justice/Commerce spending bill.
Terri Ann Lowenthal
Legislative & Policy Consultant
1250 4th St., SW
Washington, DC 20024
June 12, 2005
CENSUS NEWS BRIEF
HOUSE PANEL APPROVES '06 CENSUS FUNDS;
AMENDMENTS COULD TARGET ACS, 2010 CENSUS
ON HOUSE FLOOR
The House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and
Commerce approved a bill on June 7 that includes funding for Census Bureau programs in
fiscal year 2006, which starts October 1. The American Community Survey (ACS) and 2010
census planning activities received roughly the amounts requested by the Bush
Administration, but amendments on the House floor could target one or both accounts, as
lawmakers look for ways to pay for other programs within the massive spending bill.
Overall, the recommended appropriation for the Census Bureau is 12 percent above its 2005
funding level. (Neither the bill nor committee report numbers are available as of this
Appropriators support shift to ACS; prisoner enumeration to be studied: The bill
allocates $213.849 million -- $630,000 below the request -- to continue designing a short
form-only census in 2010. The committee noted in report language accompanying the bill
that a simplified, streamlined census should cost $2 billion less than repeating a
traditional census with a long form. The bill also includes $79.799 million, the amount
requested, for continued updates to the address list (MAF) and digital maps (TIGER
system). The committee urged federal, state, and local agencies to share address and
geographic information with the Census Bureau, and instructed the bureau to use currently
available information whenever possible to improve the MAF and TIGER system.
The American Community Survey (ACS) received $169.948 million, the amount requested. In
2006, the Bureau plans to add group quarters (such as college dorms, nursing homes, and
prisons) to the survey for the first time. The committee noted that its support for
replacing the once-a-decade long form with an ongoing survey remains
The appropriations bill requires the Census Bureau to continue collecting data on
"some other race" in the census, a directive first included in last year's
appropriations bill. Before Congress intervened, the bureau had begun testing a revised
census race question that eliminated the "some other race" option.
The committee report also directs the Census Bureau to evaluate a change in the way
prisoners are counted in the decennial census. Current residence rules place prisoners in
the institution in which they are incarcerated on Census Day. Several prison reform
advocacy groups have proposed counting prisoners at their pre-incarceration place of
residence. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law issued a
report last year, Accuracy Counts: Incarcerated People and the Census, in which it argues
that counting inmates at their prison location deprives their home communities of funding
for services and programs, as well as fair political representation in state legislatures
and Congress. The number of people incarcerated in rural prisons grew significantly in
the 1990s, the report notes, with 40 percent of the nation's prison population now
housed in rural facilities. The Census Bureau would have 90 days to complete its study of
an alternative counting method for prisoners, if the final appropriations bill retains the
House report language.
The Brennan Center report is available at:
Floor amendments could target ACS, 2010 census funds: Funding for the American Community
Survey or other Census Bureau programs could be at risk when the full House considers the
Science/Commerce appropriations bill on June 14. Last year, ACS funds narrowly survived a
vote on the House floor when Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) proposed shifting funds from the
survey to a popular community policing program. Congressional sources indicate that Rep.
Weiner might offer a similar amendment this year.
The Census Bureau has cautioned that key components of a redesigned 2010 census, including
the ACS as a replacement for the traditional long form, could be at risk if Congress cuts
funding for these programs below the requested amount. A cut of $52 million, the bureau
said, would force it to abandon plans to use hand-held computers for field data
collection. It also would eliminate plans for a 2006 field test on the Cheyenne Indian
Reservation in South Dakota, and delay the award of a major data processing contract by
If Congress cuts $26 million from the ACS, the Census Bureau said it would cancel plans to
include group quarters in the survey and reduce the sample size by roughly 10 percent.
The ACS could not produce reliable data for block groups and census tracts under those
conditions, the Bureau warned. The bureau also would eliminate the Methods Panel planned
for 2006, which is designed to test all new questionnaire wording and content before 2008,
to ensure consistent data collection for the five year period through 2012, when the ACS
will first produce block group and tract level data in place of the census long form.
Stakeholders urge full funding for ACS and 2010 census: A diverse group of stakeholder
organizations sent a letter on June 9 to key House and Senate appropriators, urging them
to reject efforts to reduce funding for the American Community Survey and 2010 census
planning. "Operational risk and costs will escalate if the Census Bureau cannot
thoroughly test and evaluate new methods and design features," the groups cautioned
in their letter to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), chairman and
ranking minority member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State,
Justice, and Commerce, and to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD),
their counterparts on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and
The stakeholders called the ACS "a relatively modest investment [that] will allow
legislators to target more effectively hundreds of billions of dollars annually in program
funds, and businesses to invest trillions of dollars more prudently, for the betterment of
all communities." The full text of the letter will be available soon through the
Communications Consortium Media Center ( www.ccmc.org
which has organized The Census Project with support from The Annie E. Casey Foundation. A
second letter with additional signers may be sent this week.
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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