Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, presided over a hearing today on the economic impacts of the 2020 census and business uses of federal data. The hearing focused on the importance of next year’s count, which will be used to produce economic data that businesses rely on to make decisions ranging from marketing strategies to long-term investments.
Here are key excerpts from the hearing:
“Businesses use census data to make economic and strategic decisions that determine the flow of almost $4 trillion in annual private investment,” Congresswoman Maloney said in her opening statement. “When businesses plot their strategies, they look at census data to understand the skills of the workforce and the characteristics of potential customers.”
“Getting the count wrong would be costly with far-reaching effects on nearly every segment of the population and on nearly every industry in our economy,” she added later in her statement. “We would be misallocating resources through misguided business investments and poorly targeted government expenditures. We would be using flawed data as the basis for making and evaluating decisions. And we would be doing this for a decade.”
“The vitality of the nation’s economy and the 6 million businesses inside that economy are greatly affected by decisions made using census-derived data—by businesses themselves, of course, and as well as by the federal government, state and local governments, workers, and students,” Dr. Andrew Reamer, research professor at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, said in his prepared remarks.
“Because accurate census data is considered the gold standard of publicly available data, it creates a competitive advantage for our country,” Mr. Howard Fienberg, Vice President of Advocacy at the Insights Association and Co-director of The Census Project, said in prepared remarks. “One of the greatest barriers to international expansion is the lack of good, transparent data, but census data gives the private sector the confidence to get their capital off the sidelines and put it to productive use here in the U.S.”
Congresswoman Maloney is co-chair of the House Census Caucus and introduced the Census IDEA Act in this Congress, which mandates a three-year review process for each question proposed to the decennial census. A video of the full hearing is available here, and the Congresswoman’s opening statement is here.
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