As data lovers, 2020 was slated to be an exciting year with the 2020 Census. Of course, like everything else this year, the Census was disrupted by COVID-19. While the count started on January 21st in remote Alaska, it took many more months to complete the count than in a normal year. Because of this, data has yet to be released, and they are hoping to hit current deadlines, which are quickly approaching.

Current deadlines state that the Secretary of Commerce will deliver the final apportionment population counts to the President and the public as close to December 31 as possible. From there, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to the states as close to April 1, 2021 as possible so that any legislative districts that need adjusting based on population changes can be redrawn. Both of these counts fall under Public Law (P.L.) 94-171, which we have always referred to as the PL94 release.

As of now, the geographic support products, including maps, shapefiles, and block assignment files will be posted sometime between January 22, 2021 and February 28, 2021. As soon as these files become available, we will begin working on the important task of re-estimating the historical census data to these new boundaries. If it is feasible to do so, we will release our 2021A estimates on both the 2010 and 2020 census geography bases. We anticipate moving fully to the 2020 geography base for the 2020B release in November.

For the first time this year, the Census Bureau plans on releasing additional data quality assessments along with the apportionment counts. Planned metrics include information on self-response, Nonresponse Follow-up (NRFU), count imputations, and metrics on addresses that are resolved as occupied, vacant or delete. Just this week, the Census Bureau is also expected to release Demographic Analysis, which is a series of estimates on the U.S. population, and are completely independent of the Census counts. These important estimates include single year of age by sex and will be incorporated into our 2020 base files and current year estimates moving forward.

AGS relies heavily upon a number of Census Bureau data products, including the decennial census, so we are monitoring the release dates closely and will provide updates over the next few months if timelines change substantially. As of now, the American Community Survey (ACS) for 2019 has been released, and these latest estimates will be incorporated into the 2021A data release, tentatively scheduled for April, 2021.