Census Bureau To End All Counting Efforts On Sept. 30 Under pressure to meet legal deadlines that Congress hasn't changed despite pandemic-related delays, the Census Bureau announced a new end date after NPR reported that door knocking will be cut short.

Census Cuts All Counting Efforts Short By A Month

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now a major update about the 2020 census. The U.S. Census Bureau says it is ending all efforts to count every person living in the country one month early. This change comes just days after NPR first reported that the bureau is cutting short door-knocking efforts at households that haven't participated in the count. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang has the story.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: For months, the Census Bureau has said it needs to keep counting a month longer than September 30 as part of a plan to overcome delays brought on by the pandemic.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is called a situation that has to be.

WANG: President Trump publicly supported that plan, at least back in April, when Census Bureau officials first asked Congress to give them more time to count by extending legal deadlines for delivering census results by 120 days.

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TRUMP: They have to give - and I think 120 days isn't nearly enough.

WANG: But so far, only Democrats in Congress have introduced legislation that would give that extension, and Republicans and the White House have been silent recently on where they stand. Career officials at the bureau, though, have not been. When NPR asked last month whether the bureau could still meet the census deadlines, the bureau's associate director for the 2020 census, Al Fontenot, replied...

ALBERT FONTENOT: We are past the window of being able to get those counts by those dates at this point.

TIMOTHY OLSON: We can't do that anymore. We passed that for quite a while now.

WANG: Tim Olson, the bureau's associate director for field operations, sounded that warning even earlier, back in May. But the Census Bureau now says it's going to cut short counting and streamline the processing of responses, a move that worries Ditas Katague, a former chair of the Census Bureau's National Advisory Committee who now directs California's census outreach campaign.

DITAS KATAGUE: To me, that means perhaps rush or use methods that may have not been proven to come up with the most accurate data.

WANG: That could severely undercount people of color, who are less likely than white people to fill out a census form on their own. For Vanita Gupta, a former Obama administration official who now heads the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, it makes no sense not to make sure the Census Bureau has more time to count.

VANITA GUPTA: There is no other reason for the Trump administration to be rushing the census if they didn't have a partisan or illegitimate motive.

WANG: Gupta says the ball is now in Congress' court to pass census deadline extensions soon or risk unfair political representation and federal funding for the next decade.

Hansi Lo Wang, NPR News, New York.

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