(Glastonbury, Conn.) Today, the Marketing Research Association (MRA) applauded the U.S. Congress for including $1 billion in immediate funding for the decennial Census in the just-approved economic stimulus law. MRA had advocated for the inclusion of this funding in the bill throughout the process and successfully helped fend off attempts in the Senate to eliminate the funds. In addition to contacts with supporters and opponents in the House and Senate, MRA rallied grassroots members, as well as subscribers to the AAPORnet listserv, to contact their Senators in support of the Census. An amendment to cut the Census funds was subsequently defeated during Senate floor debate.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) passed Congress on February 13 and awaits the President’s signature into law (expected on Tuesday). The $1 billion included for the 2010 Census will help the Census Bureau: hire more census takers for door-to-door Non-Response Follow-Up visits; open more Local Census Offices in hard-to-count areas; expand paid advertising; and hire additional Partnership Specialists.

Data produced by the Census underpins nearly all aspects of survey and opinion research. It forms the baseline sample units for virtually every survey performed in the United States; the innovative research methods that a well-funded Census can develop benefit researchers of almost every kind; and a properly financed Census can promote proper data use, minimize respondent burden, respect individual privacy and ensure confidentiality.