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Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey

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Introduction

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Submission Of Subjects Planned For The 2020 Decennial Census Program

Section 141(f) of the Census Act requires that the subjects to be included in the next census be submitted to Congress no later than 3 years before the census date. The contents of this handbook describe the subjects that will be asked on the 2020 Census and the ACS.

The Census Act also requires that the questions to be included in the next census be submitted to Congress no later than 2 years before the census date. A document that meets that requirement for the 2020 Census and the ACS will be submitted to Congress by March 31, 2018.

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About The Subjects Planned For The 2020 Decennial Census Program

Throughout each decade, regular content reviews are conducted to ensure that the information collected through the decennial census program is required by federal programs. Beginning after the 1990 Census, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in conjunction with the Census Bureau, asked federal agencies to provide information describing their data needs. This information, updated each decade by subsequent changes to federal legislative requirements, is used to evaluate content considered for the decennial census program.

To prepare for the 2020 Census, OMB and the Census Bureau embarked on a comprehensive review including chartering the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP) Subcommittee on the ACS and conducting the 2014 ACS Content Review. This effort was designed to examine and confirm the value of each question on the ACS, and to confirm and update the statutory and regulatory authority for the questions with federal agencies. In 2016, the Census Bureau asked federal agencies to provide any updates to this documentation.

The resulting information about federal uses is presented throughout the descriptions of the subjects on the following pages. These descriptions are designed to give the reader a clear understanding of

  1. the relationship between questions asked of respondents and  the summarized data that are released in published tables,
  2. how federal agencies use the resulting data, and
  3. the benefits of the data at the community level.

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