California would be the primary victim in a GOP war on the census

The 2020 census is headed for a debacle, and California is among the states most likely to be victimized by it.

Every 10 years, the Constitution requires the federal government to “enumerate” the nation’s residents. The count — traditionally accomplished by mailed questionnaires and house visits — determines political apportionment and the allocation of federal funds for the next decade.

The problems faced by the 2020 census begin with its unrealistically low budget. At mostly Republican insistence, it is set at the same level as the 2010 census budget, so it doesn’t account for a decade’s worth of inflation, or for population growth — and there will be an estimated 25 million more people in the U.S. by 2020. On top of that, the Census Bureau is using new technology to reduce door-to-door counting, and thanks to the bureau’s meager funding, it is far behind on testing it.

The 2020 census’ predicament is dire enough that in February, the Government Accountability Office added the census to its “high-risk list” of vulnerable agencies and programs. Then in June, the Census Bureau’s director abruptly resigned without explanation. Strong leadership in the buildup to a census is vital, but the Trump administration still has not named a successor.

Source: LA Times