This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The U.S. Census Gets a Budget Boost

Yesterday President Trump signed the Omnibus spending bill that will fund the U.S. government through this September--up to the end of the fiscal year. The House had passed the bill on Wednesday, and the Senate passed it on Thursday. The approval of this bill avoided a government shutdown, which was a good thing, but what is actually in this 2,232 page document? Todd Gardner has pointed out that one good thing in there is money for the Census Bureau to continue preparations for the 2020 Census.
The 2018 funding bill gives the Census Bureau a much-needed shot in the arm as it enters a make-or-break testing period.
The omnibus spending bill allocates more than $2.8 billion for Census in fiscal year 2018, with over $2.5 billion going to "periodic programs," which include the decennial census, other surveys conducted by the bureau and support programs.
The boost represents more than a $1.3 billion increase over enacted fiscal year 2017 levels -- and more than $1 billion over the administration's adjusted fiscal year 2018 request.
More good news from this article in FCW is that Democrats in Congress have this week pushed legislation that would make it impossible for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census.
Perhaps the biggest looming threat to an accurate count, experts say, is the Trump-Pence campaign's push to add -- and fundraise off the possibility of adding -- a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Census experts and civil rights groups have consistently opposed adding the citizenship question. 
In response to the Trump-Pence campaign email, House Democrats introduced legislation March 20 to prohibit the addition of such a question.
The bill, introduced by co-chair of the House Census Caucus Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) would prevent the secretary of Commerce from adding "any major operational design" -- including a question -- that hasn't been researched and tested for at least three years before the start of a decennial. It would also require the Government Accountability Office to certify that the topics and questions on the decennial have been adequately researched and tested "to the same degree as in previous decennial censuses."
We can't let our guard down, but at least for the moment, things seems to be going in the right direction for a successful 2020 census count. 

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