WASHINGTON, DC, May 15, 2012 — American Sociological Association (ASA) Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman, PhD, criticized the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday for passing a bill last week that would cut funding to the U.S. Census Bureau and result in the elimination of several important Census Bureau programs. Sociologists are among the primary users of census data in their roles as applied researchers as well as scholars.
“The House of Representatives’ recent attempt to cut Census Bureau funding, which would abolish the American Community Survey and potentially eliminate the 2012 Economic Census, is extremely shortsighted,” said Hillsman.
On May 10, the House passed its version of the FY 2013 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill (H.R. 5326), which funds the Census Bureau and other federal agencies. According to Census Bureau Director Robert Groves, the House bill would force cancellation of the 2012 Economic Census which measures the health of the U.S. economy. In addition, the bill would abolish the American Community Survey, the only source of objective, consistent, and comprehensive information about the nation’s social, economic, and demographic characteristics down to the neighborhood level. The House bill would also prevent the Census Bureau from developing and implementing innovative, cost saving strategies and tools for conducting the next decennial census in 2020.
“The House bill would devastate the ability of U.S. cities and communities to receive critical information about their economies and social demographics that they need to make informed, effective decisions,” Hillsman said. “As the Senate drafts its version of the legislation, it should ensure that the Census Bureau is fully funded and that the Economic Census, the American Community Survey, and the 2020 Census efforts are unscathed. To do anything less would adversely affect our nation’s social and economic future.”