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Budget Cuts Affecting American Community Survey

Last week, the House of Representatives voted to cut funding for the American Community Survey, which the Census Bureau has been using instead of the long form census.


The voting on this legislation was, with only a few exceptions, on party lines.

  • Supporters of the American Community Survey, mainly Democrats and people who benefit from the data collected (e.g. local governments, businesspeople, those in the media, and librarians), generally consider the survey a valuable resource that is essential  for economic and infrastructure planning, for allocation of funding for federal programs, and for business planning.
  • Supporters of the budget cut, mainly Republicans, privacy advocates, and financial conservatives, generally believe that the survey questions (such as whether someone in the household is experiencing memory loss, how many times one left one’s home in a given week, and one’s exact income) are too intrusive and that businesses benefiting from the information should pay for its collection rather than having the taxpayers spend $2.4 billion for the data collected between decennial censuses.

The American Association of Law Libraries has posted an action alert, “Help Save the American Community Survey,” encouraging people to contact their senators and express their support for the American Community Survey.

Bill Sources and Tracking

H.R.5326, Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013, is the House version of the legislation, which the House passed and sent to the Senate.  One may track the legislation on Thomas.

The Senate’s Appropriations Legislation for Fiscal Year 2013 page provides links to bills and reports from both the Senate and the House.

One may view the House debates on page H2507 of the May 9, 2012 Congressional Record.

One may view the House voting record in the May 10, 2012 Congressional Record.

Issue Analysis

Supporting American Community Survey:

Supporting Budget Cut:


* The Census Bureau provided these links in e-mail updates to librarians.

One single comment

  1. […] SaraJean Petite of Case Western Reserve University School of Law has written a blog entry, Budget Cuts Affecting the American Community Survey. […]