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American Community Survey Funding in Jeopardy

Apartment Community

The House has approved the U.S. Census Bureau’s FY 2015 budget, which reduces the necessary funding levels for both 2020 Census planning and the administration of the annual American Community Survey (ACS). NAA/NMHC use data from both surveys for numerous purposes, including estimating the economic impact of the apartment industry, as well as providing members with the latest data about the industry. The vote took place on May 30.

In addition, language was added on the House floor that would make participation in the ACS voluntary, reducing the reliability of the survey and likely making it more expensive because increased effort would need to be made to ensure a representative sample. According to the Census Bureau, making the survey voluntary would also drop the current response rate from more than 95 percent to 60 to 70 percent and increase costs by 30 percent. Without current, reliable and representative data, NAA/NMHC and policymakers will be forced to rely on outdated information that may not accurately reflect current conditions in the housing market. 

NAA/NMHC along with a real estate coalition sent a letter to the House urging full funding and support for continuing to make responses to the ACS mandatory.  In anticipation of Senate action in the coming weeks, we also sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee encouraging them to support funding.

Provided by NMHC as part of the NAA/NMHC Joint Legislative Program