On May 9 the House voted to kill the American Community Survey, which collects data on some 3 million households each year and is the largest survey next to the decennial census. The ACS—which has a long bipartisan history, including its funding in the mid-1990s and full implementation in 2005—provides data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are spent annually. Businesses also rely heavily on it to do such things as decide where to build new stores, hire new employees, and get valuable insights on consumer spending habits. Check out this video of Target (TGT) executives talking about how much they use ACS data.
From Catherine Rampell at the NY Times: The Beginning of the End of the Census?
“This is a program that intrudes on people’s lives, just like the Environmental Protection Agency or the bank regulators,” said Daniel Webster, a first-term Republican congressman from Florida (an air conditioning engineer) who sponsored the relevant legislation.
“We’re spending $70 per person to fill this out. That’s just not cost effective,” he continued, “especially since in the end this is not a scientific survey. It’s a random survey.”
In fact, the randomness of the survey is precisely what makes the survey scientific, statistical experts say.
The good news is this vote is being criticized across the political spectrum …