2020 Census Data Distortion Program

Differential Privacy Explained and Our Concerns

Differential privacy for census data explained | National Conference of State Legislatures

Census 2020 may count everyone in the right place... | StatChat web series

Our analysis of the Census Bureau's new differential privacy procedure indicates that data accuracy at the sub-state (region, county, city, town) level will be sacrificed as a result of this new approach to data release. This inaccuracy may lead to misallocation of funds, poor capacity for planning, substandard service provision, and a competitive disadvantage in economic and workforce development. As a result, we are making great efforts to educate local government officials, state agencies, members of congress, the governor and other thought leaders about the potential impacts of the differential privacy procedure with the hope that our collective voice can reverse the Census Bureau's plans to implement differential privacy procedures. Read our memo to the Governor of Virginia

Outreach Efforts

Weldon Cooper Center Efforts

  • Meetings and Workshops
    • Attended the Workshop on 2020 Census Data Products: Data Needs and Privacy Consideration, organized by the National Academy of Sciences Committee on National Statistics | Dec. 11-12, 2019
    • Meeting with Kelly Thomasson, Secretary of the Commonwealth | Feb. 14, 2020
  • Correspondence and Briefings
    Sent correspondence to the following to brief them on the differential privacy plan and encourage them to express their concerns to the Bureau in the hope that the Bureau will reverse their plans:
    • Governor of Virginia | Jan. 23, 2020
    • The National Governors’ Association, the nation-wide Federal-State Cooperative Program for Population Estimates network, the nation-wide State Data Center network | Jan. 23, 2020
    • Over 100 staff of Virginia state agencies | Feb. 3, 2020
    • Our members of congress | Feb. 4, 2020
  • Presentations
    Will be discussing the potential impacts of differential privacy at the following:
    • University of Virginia’s Census Day organized by the University library | Apr. 1, 2020
  • Working with our local government agencies to help them understand the potential impact of differential privacy

Other Groups' Efforts


What You Can Do