Census Bureau to Stop Counting One Month Earlier Than Expected

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it’s a sign that the Trump administration has abandoned plans to extend the country’s population count window, which it says had to be longer due to the coronavirus pandemic. To be counted, households must complete the survey by September 30, rather than October 31, as the Census Bureau announced when it adjusted its plans due to the virus. The office will also end its labor-intensive efforts to knock on the doors of households that did not respond to the survey online, by paper form or by phone.

The change is part of an effort to “expedite the completion of data collection and allocation counts” by the end of the year, Census Bureau director Steven Dillingham said in a statement.

“The Census Bureau’s new plan reflects our continued commitment to conduct a complete enumeration, provide accurate distribution data, and protect the health and safety of the public and our workforce,” he said. .

The pandemic struck just as the massive once-a-decade efforts to count the U.S. population were beginning and blurring the agency’s plans. It has suspended field operations for a while, although field work has resumed in some areas and is expected to be underway across the country by the end of the month.The census, which takes place every 10 years, determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and how billions of dollars in federal funding are spent. Schools, roads and other important things in your community will gain or lose funding over the next 10 years based on this official population count.

And although this year’s census relied more on collecting responses by phone, mail or online, the operation will still need a solid field operation in the coming weeks to reach out to minority communities as well as university campus students, the elderly in assisted living facilities. and people experiencing homelessness.

Not only are these groups at high risk for infection, but they are also among those most in need of in-person outreach. With many senior facilities on lockdown and students living at home, an accurate tally can become increasingly difficult within a tighter time frame.

Still, Dillingham argued Monday night that the office was “committed to a full and accurate 2020 census.”

“Building on our successful and innovative Internet response solution, the dedicated women and men of the Census Bureau, including our temporary workforce deployed to communities across the country in the coming weeks, will work diligently. to make an accurate count, ”he said.

Last week, Dillingham declined to say whether the office needed more time to complete the 2020 census while testifying before the House Oversight Committee.

The Trump administration asked Congress this spring to extend completion deadlines by four months, but several House Democrats have said they feared the administration has since waived the request.

The conversation about extending the deadline “was not at my level,” Dillingham said. He said his target was moving “as quickly as possible and to get a full and accurate count as soon as possible.”

But the possibility of less time to count the affected population argues in favor of minority groups that have been historically undercounted in the census.

“This new deadline allows Trump to trick hard-to-count communities of color into resources needed for everything from health care and education to housing and transportation for the next 10 years,” Americans said. Asian-born Advancing Justice, one of the groups that has successfully pursued the administration’s plan to ask a citizenship question on the census.

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the law said it condemns the plan to shorten the collection “in no uncertain terms” as it could lead to “millions of people missing from black and immigrant communities” .

CNN’s Tara Subramaniam, Vivian Salama, Holmes Lybrand and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

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