Policy Center

Statement on 2020 Census and NRFU 

08-05-2020 11:25

As the presidents of the Population Association of America (PAA) and the Association of Population Centers (APC), we strongly oppose the Administration’s ill-conceived decision to abandon a proposed extension of the 2020 Census statutory deadlines and to curtail the decennial count’s crucial Non-Response Follow Up (NRFU) operations. Taken together, these actions jeopardize the very credibility of the 2020 Census.

PAA and APC were pleased when the Census Bureau initially announced it would be requesting Congress authorize a four-month extension of the Bureau’s statutorily required deadlines to deliver apportionment and redistricting data—necessary action given pandemic-related operational delays. This reasonable request was accompanied by another proposal to expand NRFU operations to the end of October. These revised deadlines would have given the Census Bureau sufficient time to conduct the 2020 Census in a responsible manner and compile, analyze, and produce critical decennial census data. The Census Bureau’s abrupt, questionable announcement to revoke these proposals is baffling and contradicts the course that career Census Bureau officials had recommended be followed for ensuring a full, fair, and accurate decennial count.

The population scientists (i.e. demographers, economists, sociologists, and statisticians, in the private, public, and academic sectors) that our organizations represent rely on public data to conduct their scientific and applied research. Census data are the seminal source of data informing the breadth of these population research activities. Thus, our members are heavily vested in the outcome of the 2020 Census.

We urge Congress, as part of the next COVID relief package, to reject the Administration’s proposals and to include provisions that would extend the legal deadlines for the 2020 Census and to require that the Census Bureau continue the NRFU operations through October 30, 2020. These steps must be taken immediately to ensure a successful 2020 Census that promotes widespread participation and delivers an accurate enumeration of our nation’s population.

Dr. Eileen Crimmins, PAA President
Dr. Kathleen A. Cagney, APC President


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