2020 Census Threatened by Insufficient Funding, Warns Civil and Human Rights Coalition Leader in Congressional Testimony

2020 Census 10.12,17

WASHINGTON—Today, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to testify about planning and preparations for the 2020 Census.

“Our coalition views an accurate and fair census, and the collection of useful, objective data about our nation’s people, housing, economy, and communities generally, to be among the most important civil rights issues of our day,” Gupta said.

Gupta noted that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the responsibility of overseeing a census of the population every 10 years. But, she warned, an accurate count in the 2020 Census has been threatened by underfunding, which has already forced the cancellation of crucial dress rehearsal tests of new procedures and technologies that will be used for the first time in 2020.

“Failure to provide adequate resources before the once-a-decade population count will force the Census Bureau to shortchange 2020 Census operations designed to improve accuracy in historically undercounted communities,” Gupta testified. “This would lead to a result that deprives population groups of equal political representation and access to their fair share of public and private resources.”

“There are no do-overs with the census,” Gupta concluded. “The Census Bureau must get it right the first time, and all of us — members of Congress, county officials and mayors, school principals, veterans advocates, businesses large and small, and, indeed, every person in the United States — must live with the results for the next 10 years.”

Gupta’s full testimony can be read here.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality (GCPI) recently released a report, “Counting Everyone in the Digital Age: The Implications of Technology Use in the 2020 Decennial Census for the Count of Disadvantaged Groups,” which addresses how proposed Internet and automation technologies will affect 2020 Census enumeration for groups at risk of being undercounted.

The report can be found here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.