October 2, 2005
CENSUS FUNDING UPDATE and more
Congress took steps last week to keep the federal government running in
the new fiscal year that began October 1, after failing to enact all but
two of the twelve regular appropriations bills by the end of fiscal year
2005 (FY05) on September 30. The Continuing Resolution (House Joint
Resolution 68) funds federal agencies through November 18, 2005 (or
until a separate appropriations bill is enacted, if sooner), indicating
that Congress intends to stay in session well past its original
adjournment target of early October.
The terms of the Continuing Resolution are not favorable for the Census
Bureau in the short run. The measure temporarily funds agencies at the
lower of three levels: the House-passed level, the Senate-passed level
(if applicable), or the fiscal year 2005 level. Last month, the U.S.
Senate allocated $727.4 million for the Census Bureau in fiscal year
2006 (FY06), an amount $17 million below the FY05 level and $80 million
below the amount approved by the House of Representatives in June. The
President requested $877.4 million for the agency in FY06.
Data processing contract awarded: Implementation of a $500 million
contract for the 2010 census data processing system, awarded last week
to Lockheed Martin Corporation, could be delayed if Congress fails to
appropriate more money for the Census Bureau than the amount approved by
the Senate last month.
Lockheed Martin coordinating a team that includes IBM, Computer
Sciences Corporation, Pearson Government Solutions, and several other
companies will be responsible for all systems, facilities, and
staffing to process census responses reported on paper questionnaires,
by telephone, and via the Internet. The six-year contract for the
Decennial Response Integration System (DRIS) includes developing an
Internet response option for the census, which was offered but not
widely used in 2000.
However, the Census Bureau warned in June that the FY06 funding level
adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee (and subsequently by the
full Senate) could delay the award of the DRIS contract. The bureaus
impact statement, issued June 29, says that delaying the award would
postpone[e] critical efforts to ensure we can effectively integrate
data capture of respondent data from multiple sources in the 2010 Census
and increas[e] the likelihood that this will not be successful in
2010. The decision to award the contract before negotiators have met
to decide on a final funding level could indicate that the Census Bureau
is confident it will receive a much higher budget than the Senate
approved; alternatively, the bureau could delay implementation of the
contract if appropriators fail to allocate sufficient funds.
New report explains ACS: A new report from the Washington-based
Population Reference Bureau (PRB) offers a useful description of the
Census Bureaus American Community Survey (ACS), with a focus on
important differences between ACS and census long form methods and
data. Authors Mark Mather, Kerri Rivers, and Linda Jacobsen compare
data collection in the two surveys for several key socio-economic
characteristics, including income and poverty, immigration and language,
housing and commuting, and marriage and family relationships. The
American Community Survey is available through the PRBs web site at
(see top center of home page).
New Census Advisory Committee to meet: The newly-created 2010 Census
Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on October 27-28 at
Census Bureau headquarters in Suitland, MD. The committee replaced the
Decennial Census Advisory Committee, which was disbanded last winter.
The advisory committee will meet on Thursday, October 27, from 8:30 AM
5:15 PM, and on Friday, October 28, from 8:45 11:45 AM. Topics of
discussion include updates from congressional staff; status of planning
for the 2010 census, including communications plans; Master Address File
and TIGER digital mapping system improvement; American Community Survey
field work, including in Gulf Coast areas; and Census Bureau research
related to questionnaire content and coverage improvement.
The meeting will take place in the Francis Amasa Walker Conference
Center at the Census Bureau (Building #3). It is open to the public.
In the September 16th Census News Brief, I inadvertently neglected to
include the National Conference of State Legislatures on the list of
committee members. (My apologies to my good friend, Tim Storey, who has
ably represented NCSL on the census advisory committee for many years!)
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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