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February 2019 Monthly Status Report

Component ID: #ti1298899586

General Update

Hiring is well underway as close to 200,000 applicants have created a profile in the hiring system to become temporary workers for the 2020 Census. More than 150,000 of those total applicants have completed the assessments, and more than 1,500 have been selected to become recruiting assistants. While many continue through the clearance process of fingerprinting and background checks, close to 850 recruiting assistants have been hired. This is short of our original goal which had been to hire 1,187 by February 8. This delay has resulted from slower than expected background check processing. In response, the Census Bureau’s Human Resources Division is hiring additional staff and bringing on additional security specialists to assist with the clearance process. Management has been authorized to grant overtime.

As of February 28, the RCCs have hired 467 partnership specialists and 180 more are awaiting clearance. The May 1 hiring goal is in jeopardy because the clearance and hiring process is taking longer than anticipated. As noted above, the Census Bureau’s Human Resources Division is hiring additional staff and bringing on additional security specialists to assist with the clearance process.

In spite of not having hired as many partnership specialists as originally expected for this point in time, the partnership specialists have made great progress in working with states (and local communities) to form 2020 Census Complete Count Commissions (and Complete Count Committees). As of the end of February, 44 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have agreed to form 2020 Census Complete Count Commissions. Five more states are also considering legislation to form a commission and only one state has declined. Even though six states do not have a complete count commission, these same six states have formed 59 committees at the local level (either government complete count committees at the city and/or county level; community complete count committees; or a mix of government, community, and tribal complete count committees.) Altogether, across the country, there are 1,381 local level Complete Count Committees formed so far. All of the committees across the country comprise a broad spectrum of leaders from education, business, health care, and other community organizations. These trusted voices develop and implement a 2020 Census awareness campaign based upon their knowledge of the local community to encourage a response.

In January, a U.S. District Court judge in New York ruled against the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census questionnaire. The case remains under appeal and the Supreme Court has agreed to review the case with a hearing expected in April. However, the decision does not impact Census planning and operations moving forward. The Census Bureau continues with its plans to conduct the 2019 Census Test, which is designed to measure the operational effect of including a citizenship question on self-response rates.

The 30-day Federal Register Notice for the remaining operations scoped for the 2020 Census data collection was published in the Federal Register on February 13. This notice was previously posted on December 28, 2018 for a 30-day comment period, but public comments could not be received during the partial government shutdown. In addition, the document was updated to reflect pending litigation regarding the reinstatement of the citizenship question. Approval for the 2020 Census was being sought from OMB in phases. The first phase of approval was for the 2020 Census Address Canvassing operation only, which was described in Federal Register Notice “2020 Census,” October 2, 2018.

Also of note, the Census Bureau published the annual Citizenship by Voting Age by Race and Ethnicity (CVAP) special tabulation from the 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-year estimates.

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