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Reps. Maloney and Chu, Business and Civil Rights Leaders Decry Efforts to Eliminate Census Bureau's American Community Survey

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), along with business and civil rights leaders today decried efforts to eliminate the U. S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, a long-form census survey conducted annually since 2005.

Last month, the House passed an amendment to appropriations for the Commerce Department which eliminates funding for the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), an annual questionnaire which has replaced the decennial census's long form.

"In economic times like these, why on earth would we eliminate this data that provides one of the best tools to help job creators?," Maloney asked. "And in an increasingly global economy, why on earth would we eliminate one of the best ways that allow our nation to be competitive? The information provided by these surveys makes the public and private sectors more efficient and makes public officials more accountable."

"Every year, more than $400 billion is distributed to local communities to fund everything from school lunches to senior citizen centers, new roadways to new hospital construction. Data from the American Community Survey and the Economic Census helps inform every one of these funding decisions, which is why they are so vital to the American people," Rep. Chu said. "This money is particularly important for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community because it is our only source for disaggregated data -- that is, data that doesn't lump 45 distinct ethnicities together generically as "Asian.' This information is vital to understanding the needs of our community, as well as the needs of countless people across this country, and I hope that the Senate will save funding that was cut by the House Appropriations Bill."

"The loss of the American Community Survey is among the most significant civil and human rights challenges our nation faces today," said Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "That's because the ACS provides the only accurate, reliable source of data that helps us better understand who we are as a nation. Without it -- our increasingly diverse population and the rich tapestry of cultures making up the United States of the 21st Century shows up as an out-of-focus blur. Congressional efforts to hinder the survey are irresponsible and must be stopped. Though our demographic destiny may be changing, the fact remains that we are all Americans. And, as Americans, we are entitled to be counted equally."

"The foundation of sound decision making is good information, and the information gathered on the U.S. economy by the Census is the best of its kind in the world," said Tim Gill, Director of Economics at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). "NEMA's member companies and I use data from the Economic Census -- and from many other programs to which the Economic Census is a key input -- to assess market size for particular product lines, to benchmark performance to industry aggregates, and to develop forecasts of the marketplace. All of these activities help to maximize the efficiency of investment decisions."

"Without the data the nation would essentially be flying blind in relation to important housing market conditions and business decisions," said Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) "Accurate economic and demographic data inspire business confidence that is so critical to the free enterprise system. We would not be able to provide an accurate estimate of many housing metrics if they cannot be benchmarked against ACS data."

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