Speed Reads

2020 Census

Census apportionment data won't be ready before Trump leaves office, Justice Department official confirms

The Census data used to apportion federal funds and congressional seats won't be ready until a least Feb. 9, weeks after President-elect Joe Biden takes office, a Trump administration lawyer told a federal court in San Jose, California, on Monday. The U.S. Census Bureau missed a Dec. 31 deadline to hand over the data, saying it would be ready in "early 2021." If the apportionment is finalized after Jan. 20, President Trump probably won't succeed in his unprecedented effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from the decennial head count.

John Coghlan, the deputy assistant attorney general who delivered the Feb. 9 target date in court, said the Census Bureau had found new irregularities in the data and the actual finalization of apportionment numbers is "a continuously moving target." The Census Bureau struggled to undertake its population survey amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and even with the Trump administration's decision to end the counting early, outside statisticians predicted the bureau's data processing timetable was unrealistic, The Associated Press reports.

"I appreciate the need for target dates but hope and expect that the Census Bureau would double down on its commitment to focus primarily on the quality of the apportionment counts, however long that takes," said Rob Santos, president of the American Statistical Association.