Advancing Justice | AAJC Statement in Response to Census Bureau Altered Timeline for 2020 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today a dramatically altered timeline for the 2020 Census amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins 202-296-2300, ext. 0144

Washington, D.C. — April 13, 2020 — The U.S. Census Bureau announced today a dramatically altered timeline for the 2020 Census amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the new developments, Advancing Justice | AAJC calls for the Census Bureau to provide detailed plans about how they will ensure the 2020 Census achieves an accurate count of hard-to-count communities during a delayed and significantly altered non-response follow-up period.

Advancing Justice | AAJC (Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC) released the following statement in response to the Census Bureau’s announcement: 

“While Advancing Justice | AAJC supports the Census Bureau’s delay of NRFU until the public health circumstances improve, we are concerned that an insufficient nonresponse follow-up (NRFU) operation would mean a failed 2020 Census. Getting as close as possible to a full and accurate count of historically undercounted populations, especially Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, immigrants, and children is critical for a successful 2020 Census. All of these hard-to-count communities depend on a robust and successful NRFU operation and the nation is counting on a fair and accurate 2020 Census.”

“To that end, we will be scrutinizing this operation to assess the Bureau’s ability to carry out this essential portion of the enumeration.  Specifically, we will be scrutinizing the size and diversity of the NRFU workforce to evaluate if it is culturally and linguistically competent and skilled enough to reach hard-to-count households that have not self-responded. We will scrutinize the NRFU completion rates and coverage. The regional coverage of NRFU is essential and we will gauge if the Census Bureau is able to conduct this operation in all states, including large metropolitan areas with large Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations as well as states where our populations are emerging, such as in the South.”

“Advancing Justice | AAJC is committed to a 2020 Census that is fair and accurate for all communities – particularly those that have been marginalized and historically missed in the past. Our commitment to working with the U.S. Census Bureau to support outreach to our communities is equally unwavering. We have been striving towards achieving the best count possible of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations in the 2020 Census – one that is at least as accurate as the count in 2010 of our community.”

“We fully empathize with the Census Bureau’s challenges of carrying out the Census 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Over the next few weeks, we will continue to promote and try to increase participation in the 2020 Census online, by phone and by returning the paper questionnaire by mail.”

“However, if the Census Bureau is unable to resume field operations by June 2020, we will need to examine the contingency plans. All options need to remain on the table to ensure a fair and accurate count. In addition, Congress and interested stakeholders must assess the unprecedented request by the Census Bureau for a delay to the statutory deadline to report apportionment and redistricting data.”