PL-94-171 for Census 2020

Does anyone know the latest timing for the release of PL-94-171 from Census 2020? I understand data to be used by states for redistricting legislative and congressional seats is due to the states no later than April 1, 2021, but wondering if this may be delayed. Related question: will those data be provided to the public at that time (such as through or only to state officials? 

Thanks in advance!


  • I checked with the redistricting office about a week ago and they said that they are no longer operating on the April 1st, 2021 deadline. They had originally pushed back the delivery date to July 31st, 2021 (I believe) and then also rescinded that timeline as well. They are currently operating with no timeline for delivery but are hoping to have more concrete guidance sometime in mid to late February with no official indication as to whether the delivery will be before or after the previously rescinded guidance of July 31st. Unofficially, I have heard that they are evaluating their current progress to see if they are able to stick to the statutory deadline of April 1, 2021.  I was also told that the SDCs will not have embargo access prior to the release to the public, with the exception of the designated SDC contact for the entire state. 

    The PL-94-171 data will be provided to the states and then receipt of the PL-94-171 data will be confirmed the following day and then made public the day after that. I was also told that the PL-94-171 data will be made available on and as flat text files, but that the Census is not providing guidance on how to use the flat text files, although they will be providing a header protocol. I'm assuming using the flat text files will be similar to the 2010 release. 

    If anyone has heard differently, I would also like to know. 

  • Extremely helpful, Jason! Thanks! -Andi

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  • Dear All:

    There is substantial delay in the PL94 file.  The original delay was to be four months, and a bill was sent to Congress with the notion of delaying it and the Apportionment numbers, which are effectively 50 number, which are the population totals for each state, with the so-called overseas military added.  There number are from the so-called Census unedited file.  Trump decided to issue a memo demanding that these numbers include counts for the undocumented immigrants,  When it became clear to everyone (I guess except those who were trying a coup) that Trump would leave office on Jan 20, then some political appointees who had been sent over to the Census (rumored by Stephen Miller) to ride herd on the professionals, as well as the appointed director, demanded data on citizens and non-citizens, including undocumented, before the end of Trumps term.  This led to an IG report, the work on that being stopped, and the director resigning.  (The director is on a fixed term, which would have expired at the end of December  2021.)  Due to the Pandemic, the many political interventions in both the counting and now the processing of the data, the Census data may be delayed even beyond the original change in deadlines proposed, which would have been by April 1 for apportionment data and by July 31 for PL94-171.  The apportionment data could easily be delayed to April 1, and the rumors are the PL data will not arrive until the Fall.

    At this point no official announcement has been made.  If you want to keep abreast of Census doing, I would suggest checking out Hansi Lo Wang's coverage on NPR or his Twitter feed.  He has been known to live tweet court proceedings.  Google him and all of his recent coverage will be revealed.  For his work he was awarded the excellence in statistical reporting by the American Statistics Association.

  • Thank you for these details, Andrew! Yes, Hansi's coverage is without parallel.