Washington Report

Advocacy Updates from Washington D.C.

Senate CJS Subcommittee Approves Low Level of Census Funding in FY 2019 Appropriations Bill

The Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) subcommittee approved the FY2019 appropriations bill at a Census funding level of $3.8b. That figure is $21m above the administration’s initial request, but below that of the Commerce Department, the CJS subcommittee’s own request, and nearly $700m below the level NAR and its coalition partners sought.

Every ten years, the Census undertakes the decennial census. The decennial census is the gold standard for all surveys and is used by all private analysts for business purposes including the NAR. Funding typically ramps up in the years preceding the decennial census, but the decennial census has been underfunded relative to prior decennial census. Consequently, more funding is needed to “catch up” and to deal with recent changes. The low funding level raises the concern that the quality of the decennial census and thus the work of the business sector could suffer.

  • White House FY 2019 request for the Census Bureau = $3.8 billion
  • Commerce Department revised cost estimate = $4.26 billion
  • Senate Appropriations CJS Subcommittee request = $4.529 billion
  • Census stakeholder community and NAR request = $4.735 billion
  • Final Senate CJS subcommittee approved the FY2019 appropriations bill = $3.8 billion