Hansi Lo Wang

President Biden's White House is reviving a previously stalled review of proposed policy changes that could allow the Census Bureau to ask about people's race and ethnicity in a radical new way in time for the 2030 head count, NPR has learned.

Updated July 18, 2021 at 7:57 PM ET

More than two decades before the Biden administration announced its historic pick to lead the U.S. Census Bureau, James F. Holmes quietly blazed a trail at the federal government's largest statistical agency.

Updated July 15, 2021 at 3:49 PM ET

Robert Santos, President Biden's nominee for director of the U.S. Census Bureau, is a step closer to a potential political appointment for the history books after testifying before Congress on Thursday.

Updated June 30, 2021 at 2:22 PM ET

A three-judge court has rejected Alabama's request to force the U.S. Census Bureau to move up the release of 2020 census redistricting data. The federal judges have also allowed the bureau to continue plans for a new way of keeping people's census information confidential.

Updated July 22, 2021 at 1:53 PM ET

As the country waits for more results from last year's national head count, the U.S. Census Bureau is facing an increasingly tricky balancing act.

How will the largest public data source in the United States continue to protect people's privacy while also sharing the detailed demographic information used for redrawing voting districts, guiding federal funding, and informing policymaking and research for the next decade?

This week, Minnesota's state demographer finally got the numbers she's spent years waiting for.

"I didn't expect to be as nervous as I eventually was as they were unveiling these numbers," says Susan Brower, who was among those glued to the Census Bureau's livestream about the first set of 2020 census results that determine how many seats in Congress and votes in the Electoral College each state gets for the next decade.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The first results of the 2020 census finally came out yesterday. They told us which states gained or lost seats in Congress, and there was some unexpected news.

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Tens of thousands of U.S. service members who were temporarily deployed abroad last year could help shift the balance of power in Congress and the Electoral College toward states with military installations after the release of 2020 census results.

Approximately 97,000 troops were serving stints overseas on Census Day — April 1, 2020 — Pentagon spokesperson Lisa Lawrence tells NPR. And for last year's national tally, the Census Bureau followed a new policy that counted those deployed troops as residents of the areas from which they were assigned away.

Updated April 20, 2021 at 2:53 PM ET

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is renewing a push that failed during the previous administration to extend the deadlines for reporting 2020 census results after the pandemic and Trump officials' interference disrupted the count.

For decades, the size of the U.S. House of Representatives has pitted state against state in a fight for political power after each census.

That's because, for the most part, there is a number that has not changed for more than a century — the 435 seats for the House's voting members.

While the House did temporarily add two seats after Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959, a law passed in 1929 has set up that de facto cap to representation.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The first results of the 2020 census will be out soon. High stakes here - they determine how many seats your state gets in Congress and how many votes you get in the Electoral College. Now, that can change every 10 years, depending on what the census produces. But there is one number that hasn't changed for more than a century. Here's NPR census correspondent Hansi Lo Wang.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: That number comes into focus once a decade, when Census Bureau directors announce, like Robert Groves did in 2010...

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In a historic move, President Biden is naming Robert Santos, one of the country's leading statisticians and the American Statistical Association's president, as his intended nominee to head the U.S. Census Bureau.

If confirmed by the Senate, Santos, who is Latinx, would be the first permanent director of color for the federal government's largest statistical agency, which is in charge of major surveys and the once-a-decade head count used for distributing political representation and funding around the United States.

Editor's note: A version of this comic was originally published in December 2020.

Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET

The Senate confirmed Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo on Tuesday as the next secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department.

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