AAPOR Statement Regarding the 2020 Census


The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) urges the U.S. Census Bureau to reconsider its August 3, 2020, decision to end data collection for the decennial Census a full month earlier, on September 30, 2020. The original data-collection end date of October 31, 2020, allowed for additional time needed to collect crucial data during the coronavirus outbreak. Given the significant efforts that will be necessary to count hard-to-reach populations during a pandemic, two months is insufficient time to complete the conducting of a complete and accurate 2020 Census.

According to the Bureau itself, as of today, about four in 10 households in the U.S. still have not responded to the 2020 Census. Cutting short the time allowed for responding increases the risk of a substantial undercount, a critical error that will damage the information infrastructure of the nation for at least a decade.

A complete and accurate Census is essential to a well-functioning society. The United States uses the decennial census in myriad ways, including determining the number of congressional seats and electoral votes each state gets as well as guiding hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding to states and communities. Survey professionals across federal, state and local governments as well as academic and industry professionals rely on accurate Census data to establish appropriate sampling and analysis of countless surveys and research studies annually.

In addition, AAPOR supports extending the legal deadline for delivering census data to the President and the states, as delineated by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham in their April 2020 operational response to the coronavirus outbreak, 2020 Census Operational Adjustments Due to COVID-19.

AAPOR further urges all residents of the United States to cooperate with and respond to the 2020 Census in the spirit of the public good and to strengthen our communities. We all benefit from an accurate, nonpartisan census of our nation.