Federal Government Shutdown: Impact on Population Sciences

By PAA Web posted 09-25-2023 02:53 PM


US Capitol dome in sunset

With direct and indirect support from Federal scientific and statistical research agencies, population scientists are conducting critical interdisciplinary research and training activities to improve individual health and well-being, maintain the scientific pipeline, and inform evidence-based policymaking. Lapses in Federal funding severely disrupt the field’s productivity.

Adverse Effects of Federal Government Shutdown on Population Sciences

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary source of competitive discretionary funding supporting the population sciences. During government shutdowns, NIH often cancels grant reviews and delays awards. The current shutdown threat may derail a scheduled NIH review to expand research and data collection regarding Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. In addition, approved awards addressing maternal and infant health, slated for release in October, are on hold—halting lifesaving research.

  • Statistical agencies are unable to fully conduct surveys and release data. Past government shutdowns forced the National Center for Health Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Census Bureau to suspend surveys. The American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, for example, were affected, delaying the release of essential demographic and socioeconomic data used in the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors to make strategic planning decisions and evaluate communities’ needs.

  • Scientific workshops, which stimulate future research directions, are postponed or canceled. The threat of a FY 2024 shutdown has already led the U.S. Census Bureau to withdraw its employees from participating in the Southern Demographic Association annual meeting scheduled for October 18-20, 2023, in San Antonio, Texas. 

PAA and APC urge Congress to pass a continuing resolution and resolve the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations process in a timely manner.