Census News: President Biden Acts, But Data Slow to Come
January 21, 2021
As reported in the Federal update, one of President Biden’s first actions in office was to reverse a controversial directive issued by the Trump Administration to exclude undocumented immigrants from the decennial census. However, the Executive Order did not address a separate command from 2018, given by former Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, that the Bureau produce anonymized, block-level data about the U.S. citizenship status of every adult living in the country.
The timeline for delivery of the data needed for redistricting, however, is still not set in stone. The Census Bureau traditionally delivers a report with the data determining congressional apportionment delivered by December 31, followed by detailed data sufficient for redistricting delivered by April 1.
Last week, it was announced that the first set of results are not expected to be ready until March 6. The timing of release for the second set of results, used for redistricting, has yet to be announced, but the Census website still maintains that their goal is to meet the statutory April 1 deadline. The Census Bureau has begun releasing the geographic products necessary for redistricting, such as shape files and maps. California’s geographic products are scheduled to be released next week.
Lastly, on Monday, Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham announced his retirement despite nearly a year left in his term. His retirement comes after whistleblower complaints that Dillingham pressured employees to produce a report excluding undocumented immigrants before President Biden was sworn in. Career Census employees warned that the report would be “statistically indefensible” and could be “misinterpreted, misused, or otherwise tarnish the Bureau’s reputation.”