“Ensuring the 2020 Census Count is Complete and Accurate”
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, held a remote hearing to examine risks to the accuracy and completeness of the 2020 Census count.
The Census Bureau has faced unique challenges in conducting a complete and accurate Census, including the coronavirus pandemic, the use of new technologies for enumeration, and compressed schedules for data collection and data processing.
Last month, the New York Times reported that “Census Bureau officials have concluded that they cannot produce the state population totals required to reallocate seats in the House of Representatives until after President Trump leaves office in January.” The report added: “the Census Bureau told the Commerce Department that a growing number of snags in the massive data-processing operation that generates population totals had delayed the completion of population calculations at least until Jan. 26, and perhaps to mid-February.”
After the story became public, the Census Bureau Director, Dr. Steven Dillingham, posted a statement confirming that “anomalies have been discovered” during data processing. Since none of these problems were reported to the Committee, Chairwoman Maloney sent a letter to the Census Bureau on November 19 seeking documents relating to these anomalies and the predicted delays they would cause.
On November 24—the date the documents were due to the Committee—staff received a bipartisan telephone briefing from the Census Director and other top Census Bureau officials. These officials reported that documents responsive to the Committee’s request had been submitted to Secretary Wilbur Ross’ General Counsel at the Commerce Department, but they have not been cleared for release and there were “concerns about ongoing litigation.” When asked whether the Census Bureau had an expected date by which production might be possible, the officials could not provide one.
Mr. Jeff Landry
Attorney General, Louisiana
Mr. J. Christopher Mihm
Managing Director of the Strategic Issues Team, Government Accountability Office
Mr. Joseph Salvo
Chief Demographer, Population Division, Department of City Planning, New York City
Mr. Robert Santos
Vice President and Chief Methodologist, Urban Institute, and President-Elect, American Statistical Association