In mid-April, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-3) introduced H.R. 1638, a bill called the Census Reform Act.
This bill specifies that the U.S. Bureau of the Census “may only conduct the decennial census of population,” and would effectively eliminate:
- The American Community Survey
- The Current Population Survey
- The Economic Census
- The Census of Governments
- The National Crime Victimization Survey
- The Census of Agriculture
It’s hard to overstate the loss of knowledge that this bill would bring about. We wouldn’t know the unemployment rate or how many people are working. We wouldn’t know how many people are in the workforce, or enrolled in school, or retired. We wouldn’t know how much people are earning, or how many are in poverty. We wouldn’t know how many people are robbed or assaulted each year.
Though the bill has ten co-sponsors, all from the Republican side of the aisle, the opposition is sure to come from a broad base of data users, including business organizations like the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who issued statements in support of the American Community Survey in 2012 when its existence was last threatened by legislation.
The Census Project Blog: What We Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us, Right?
The Raw Story: Republicans Introduce Census Reform Bill That Would End Unemployment Estimates