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A First Look at the Proposed 2020 Census

The 2020 Census is fast approaching, and this week the Census Bureau crossed a major item of its to-do list in preparation for the next census by presenting its list proposed questions to Congress.
March 29, 2017, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Irina Mos

The U.S. Census released a new publication this week: the eagerly anticipated "Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey" [pdf] report. By releasing the proposed subjects for the upcoming census, the Census Bureau is conforming to mandate in the Census Act that it submit the subjects to be included in the next census to Congress no later than three years before the census date.

The publication concludes a comprehensive review process by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau, including chartering the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) Subcommittee on the American Community Survey (ACS) and conducting the 2014 ACS Content Review.

In the report itself, the Census Bureau explains more of the questions asked during the review process, such as questions of necessity, openness, respectful treatment of respondents, and confidentiality. The document also serves to justify many of the proposed subjects, by specifically citing the agencies that will use the data generated by the Census survey.

Since the new planned subjects for the census was released, controversy has erupted over the omission of questions regarding LGBT categories. According to an article Chris Johnson, some questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity were removed on the day of the report's release. Although Johnson shows a side-by-side comparison to the report, before and after the change, we cannot find a record of the reported statement from the Census Bureau saying it erred in including these questions. Glenn Garner reports the lack of gender and sexuality questions on the planned subjects document differently, saying that the U.S. Census had ignored the urging of some federal agencies to include such questions. We'll update this story if we find more to confirm either version of these stories. [Update: Ben Casselman has reported with more details on the omission of the LGBTQ questions and ongoing questions about the Trump Administration's role in the 11th hour changes to the planned subjects.]

Back in February, Chris Williamson wrote more on the benchmarks and important release dates that planners should be watching for on the approach to Census 2020

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Published on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 in U.S. Census Bureau
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