The Census Project outlined the proposed actions by House and Senate budget negotiators regarding the FY 2015 Census Bureau budget. Unfortunately, the policymakers in Congress cut proposed funding for 2020 Census “ramp-up” dollars by about 50%.
Lawmakers are trying to wrap up a broad spending bill for fiscal year 2015, which started on Oct. 1, before a short-term funding measure runs out Thursday night (12/11/14). The draft bill, unveiled Tuesday, allocates $840 million for the account covering the 2020 Census, $123 million less than the budget request.
The payoff for investing in the groundwork now is significant: $5 billion in potential savings from automating response options and field work and from tapping government and commercial databases to update the address list and reduce costly door-to-door visits. All promising ideas, but we won’t know if they can produce a lower-cost and equally or more accurate census until we see and weigh the evidence.