census

Oversight panel sues Barr, Ross over census subpoenas
Committee probe into failed effort to add citizenship question continues

The House Oversight Committee is seeking to force Attorney General William Barr to comply with subpoena issued as part of its investigation over the failed effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has picked a court fight with the Trump administration, filing a lawsuit Tuesday to enforce subpoenas for documents sought in the panel’s investigation of the failed effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

In the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, the panel asks that Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross be ordered to comply with subpoenas issued as part of its investigation. The committee argues it needs the information to make sure the administration has not undermined the decennial count used to apportion federal representation and more than $1.5 trillion in annual federal spending.

Census gets funding boost in stopgap bill
The money provides greater surety going into next year's count

Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., ranking member of an Appropriations subcommittee, said census funding had bipartisan support. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

The stopgap funding measure Congress passed Thursday provides $7.3 billion for the Census Bureau, giving next year’s count the resources some lawmakers and advocates have sought for months.

The measure matches an earlier Senate version of the funding bill that would have given the agency $6.7 billion for census operations and exceeds the $5.3 billion requested by President Donald Trump’s administration. Democrats in Congress, skeptical of the administration, had pushed for more funding for the count, which will be used to help decide political representation and to divvy up about $1.5 trillion in federal spending annually.

New census data: About 1 million same-sex households in US
Same-sex married and unmarried couples make up about 1 percent of all homes

John Lewis, left, and Stuart Gaffney, of San Francisco, hold heart signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court before the start of oral arguments on marriage equality in 2015. The couple were plaintiffs in the 2008 court case challenging California's same-sex marriage ban. Same-sex couples now make up 1 percent of all homes, new census data shows. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Census Bureau estimates about 1 million same-sex married and unmarried couples are living together nationwide, according to new figures released Tuesday.

Same-sex households make up about 1 percent of all homes, according to data released as part of the Current Population Survey and the first time such figures were included in its main results. The estimates provide a limited glimpse into the LGBTQ population in America, which has not shown up in federal surveys for much of the nation’s history.

Facebook, other social media sites pressured to protect census
Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, arrives to testify during the House Financial Services hearing on Oct. 23, 2019. Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress are increasing pressure on social media companies to protect next year’s census from disinformation online, concerned that foreign governments and internet trolls could disrupt the 2020 enumeration.

The latest push comes in a letter the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus sent Thursday to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, asking her to speak with group members about steps to both promote the census and “combat interference and disinformation on its platform.” Russia or another country may try to push the census off course, they say, and Facebook and other companies should be prepared.

Shrinking congressional districts look for federal help
Some districts may have lost 30,000 or more people through 2018

Flint, Mich., residents Virginia Mitchell, right, and her daughter-in-law, Tiara Williams, pictured in 2016 during the city’s lead contamination crisis. Flint is among communities that have lost population since 2010 and are seeking more federal dollars. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite explosive growth in other areas of the country since 2010, about 80 congressional districts have lost significant population over the decade — leaving many looking for help from the federal government. 

Some districts may have lost 30,000 or more people through 2018, many of them in manufacturing and mining areas in the Northeast, according to Census Bureau data released last month. Most of those districts are represented by Democrats but located in states President Donald Trump won in 2016 by promising new trade deals that have since taken a back seat in Washington.

Supreme Court erases Michigan gerrymandering ruling
Justices decided in June that federal courts can’t rein in politicians who draw political maps to entrench a partisan advantage

Crowds line up outside the Supreme Court as it resumes oral arguments at the start of its new term on Oct. 7. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court on Monday officially wiped out a lower court ruling from April that had struck down Michigan’s congressional map as giving an unconstitutional boost to Republicans.

The high court’s move was expected, since the justices decided in June that federal courts can’t rein in politicians who draw political maps to entrench a partisan advantage.

Commerce watchdog will monitor efforts to keep 2020 census secure
GAO and lawmakers have raised security concerns over Census Bureau’s IT systems

The Commerce Department inspector general will be monitoring the Census Bureau’s efforts to keep the 2020 census secure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Commerce Department’s internal watchdog will take a look at the Census Bureau’s efforts to keep the 2020 census secure, the inspector general said in a letter Thursday.

The announcement follows a trail of security concerns about Census Bureau systems for next year’s count from the Government Accountability Office and members of Congress. Next year’s census will allow an online response option for most of the country for the first time, along with traditional mail and phone response.

Survey: Young adults, minorities less likely to participate in the census
Pew survey finds blacks, adults under 30 and people with less money aren’t as likely to respond to the 2020 count

Protesters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the court hears oral arguments in a case highlighting a proposed question about U.S. citizenship in the 2020 U.S. census. A new poll finds some groups do not plan to participate. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A significant portion of Americans said they may not participate in next year’s census, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Friday that has implications for the 2020 count’s cost, as well as its uses for redistricting and distribution of federal funds.

More than one in five younger adults, those making less than $30,000 and those identifying as black said they definitely will not, probably will not or might not participate in the census, according to the Pew report. Its results reflect similar outcomes to surveys conducted before and during the 2010 census, said one of the authors of the report, D’Vera Cohn.

Census Bureau seeking driver's license info, admin records
Effort will help officials comply with president‘s order to publish citizenship data on U.S. residents

Protesters hold signs at a rally in front of the Supreme Court in June after a ruling on the citizenship question in the 2020 census. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Census Bureau wants even more details on American residents, requesting states to provide driver’s license and administrative records to add to a trove of federal data being collected by the agency in its census count.

Officials plan to use the administrative information to help record people who might not otherwise respond to next year’s decennial survey, as well as to comply with President Donald Trump’s order to publish data on the citizenship of U.S. residents.

More diverse Pennsylvania and Florida districts might shape 2020 politics
Both states have grown in population, and many of their congressional districts have become more racially and ethnically diverse.

Protesters hold signs at a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after a June 27 ruling ruling on the census. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania and Florida, two swing states President Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016, may look substantially different next year, as new census data shows them trending away from his base.

Both states have grown in population, and many of their congressional districts have become more racially and ethnically diverse. However, that growth hasn’t been uniform and that may have implications for local politics in 2020 and beyond.