The 2020 Census will account for approximately 152 million American households, 20 million more than were counted in the 2010 census, and the highest total percentage of United States households recorded in the past 30 years, assistant to the president for planning and implementation Dr. John Fleming claims.
Fleming told the Daily Caller Friday that the census is generally completed between April 1-July 31, but complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic forced the Census Bureau to keep enumerators out of the field until June. The truncated schedule required the White House coronavirus task force to set aside enough personal protective equipment for the Census Bureau to hire a larger body of enumerators compared to past years, all of whom were tasked with working longer hours than typically expected.
Still, the Census Bureau’s 2020 enumerators blanketed 99.98 percent of all U.S. households, compared to 99.62 and 99.6 percent in 2010 and 2000 respectively. The 1990 census also resolved 99.98 percent of listed addresses. (RELATED: Trump Calls On Congress To Exclude Illegal Immigrants From New Congressional Redistricting Maps)
“The media has been almost exclusively critical in its reporting that we were undercounting or inaccurately counting in 2020,” Fleming said. “Despite all the wrangling, all the criticism, all the claims that the Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau and certainly the White House were derelict in its duties, nothing could be further from the truth.”
The former Louisiana Republican Congressman added that in 2020, the Census Bureau was able to resolve at least 99.9 percent of all household addresses in 49 states. Louisiana was the sole state where the Census fell short of that mark in 2020, resolving just over 99 percent of listed addresses, due to the two hurricanes that struck the gulf coasts during the counting weeks this summer.
Fleming additionally credited two technological advances with helping Census hit its enumeration goals without pushing back the timeline: iPhones and a new website for households to self-respond.
The online portal was a brand new tool for Census 2020 — in 2010, households were only able given a paper mailing option to self respond — and the site itself “always worked perfectly and never went down for a second,” Fleming claimed.
“It was a huge leap in terms of government performance,” he stated, explaining that of the 67 percent of all households choosing to self-respond in 2020, 80 percent used the online portal.
Similarly, every Census enumerator sent into the field in 2020 was given an iPhone, a simple change that allowed enumerators to optimize routes and rapidly report data back to Census centers at a rate of 1.92 cases per hour, nearly double the productivity of 2010’s rate of 1.01 cases per hour.
“There was accountability that never existed before,” Fleming said. “We have technology that verifies where they were when they took that information.”
Still, two questions remain about the final 2020 Census product. Will the data be deliverable when Congress returns to session in 2021 and will the apportionment map exclude illegal immigrants, as desired by President Donald Trump.
Fleming concedes that the first question is still up in the air.
“Because we got in the field later because of the pandemic, we’ve had to work through our timelines to meet statutory deadlines,” he told the Daily Caller. “We can’t say for certain if we will hit the deadlines or whether there may be delays because we’re still analyzing the process.”
The second question is much more cut and dry.
Though a special, three-judge panel blocked Trump’s executive order to exclude illegal immigrants counted in the census from the Congressional apportionment map, Fleming noted the United States Supreme Court’s decision had opted in October to hear the case and scheduled opening arguments to take place on November 30.
The Census Bureau confirmed to Daily Caller they intend to use administrative records to identify citizenship in the final 2020 products.