American Sociological Association

ACTION ALERT . . . 7/8/05, 7/29/05

U.S. Census Funding Is Threatened in U.S. Senate

Your Action Is Needed . . .

ASA members need to be aware of the potential implications of the proposed Fiscal Year 2006 U.S. Census funding level being considered by the United States Senate beginning July 11. ASA members are encouraged to communicate concerns to their senators.

When Congress reconvened July 11, the Senate was scheduled to consider its version of the FY 2006 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, which funds the U.S. Census Bureau. As of July 29, Senate action is still pending. Currently, the bill would allocate $727.4 million for the Census Bureau, approximately $85 million below the amount approved by the House of Representatives last month, $150 million below the Bush Administration's request, and less than the bureau received in FY 2005.

If the funding mark proposed by the Senate prevails, the Census Bureau has stated it would take the following actions:

  • Cut by 30 percent the sample size for Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey, thereby limiting the survey's ability to detect year-to-year change in the official poverty rate and other measures of well-being;
  • Eliminate several economic statistics programs, including the annual state and local government employee survey and the annual County Business Patterns program;
  • Abandon plans for several new statistical initiatives, including expanding measurements of service activities that are part of the GDP and instituting a national Longitudinal Employer/Household Dynamics Program;
  • Reduce the sample size for the Survey of Income and Program Participation by 15 percent and eliminate incentives that the Bureau says have boosted the response rate for low income households;
  • Scale back testing of content for the 2007 Economic Census;
  • Suspend the American Community Survey; and,
  • Cancel the 2006 census field tests planned for Travis County, Texas and the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which will eliminate opportunities to study improved methods for enumerating American Indian reservations, as well as a dual language (English-Spanish) questionnaire, and a targeted second mailing to unresponsive households. The Bureau will not implement new methods in the 2010 census that are not dully tested in advance.


If you support the work of the U.S. Census Bureau and are concerned about the effect of the Senate's proposed funding level, call or send an e-mail to your U.S. Senators (meaning those two senators who represent your state), and state the following:

"During the week of July 11, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to consider H.R. 2862, the Fiscal Year 2006 Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill. I am very concerned about the level of funding this bill provides the U.S. Census Bureau. Currently, the bill proposes funding the Bureau below last year's level and providing $150 million less than the Bush Administration's Fiscal Year 2006 request. If the recommended funding level holds, it would drastically under fund critical programs at the Bureau, including (choose from above list of examples or provide one important to you or your state). I urge the Senator to support any or all efforts to increase funding for the Census Bureau, including any floor amendments that might be offered during the upcoming debate."

(If you do not know who your U.S. Senators are, you may locate their contact information on the U.S. Senate home page.

Last Updated on July 29, 2005
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