Supreme Court allows Trump administration to end 2020 Census count early, putting the accuracy of the census at risk

Written by: Sarah Hughes
Date Posted: October 16, 2020

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an emergency order allowing the Trump administration to abruptly end the 2020 Census count more than two weeks early, reversing a lower court’s order that the Census Bureau continue counting households through October 31. Shortly after the Supreme Court order was issued, the Census Bureau announced that operations would end yesterday, October 15, at 11:59 pm Hawaii time.

The Children’s Campaign joins census advocates across the country in condemning the administration’s decision to end the 2020 Census count yesterday, ignoring the plan developed by Census Bureau career staff. Ending the 2020 Census count prematurely puts the accuracy of this decennial census at great risk and will affect the nation for years to come. The decision did not allow adequate time for Census Bureau enumerators to ensure that all people—particularly those considered “hard to count,” including children under 5, people of color, people with low incomes and people experiencing homelessness, among others—are included in this once-a-decade count of our nation’s population. If these groups are undercounted in the 2020 Census, their communities will be unfairly deprived of fair political representation and adequate federal funding for schools, child care, health care, transportation and more for the next decade.

The administration still plans to deliver the final census population data to the president by December 31st, even though Census Bureau staff have said there is no way they can process the data accurately by this deadline. Census advocates are calling on Congress to pass legislation to push back this reporting deadline by 120 days, giving the Census Bureau enough time to produce accurate data. Coloradans are depending on an accurate 2020 Census count; without it, local communities will be relying on skewed data in their efforts to plan for the future, and programs that support kids and families won’t receive the federal funding they require to meet the needs of children across our state. Stay tuned for more information about the effort to extend the census reporting deadlines, and THANK YOU to everyone who helped promote 2020 Census participation during this unprecedented year.

Sarah Hughes

About Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is Vice President of Research Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In this role, she leads the organization’s research and data analysis efforts, including the development and publication of the annual KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report, and provides research and data support to inform and advance the Children’s Campaign’s policy agenda. She also co-chairs the organization’s internal Equity Team. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, Sarah worked in communications and spent several years working and volunteering with kids in various capacities.