April 4, 2006

133 Organizations Sign Letter to Congress Opposing Elimination of Key Census Survey

For Immediate Release:  April 4, 2006

Contact: Lynn Erskine, 202-293-5380 x115

Washington, DC: One hundred and thirty-three national, state and local organizations sent a letter to Congress today opposing the elimination of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Represented on the letter are health, housing, religious and anti-poverty organizations including the Children's Defense Fund, Families USA, AFSCME, and American Association of People with Disabilities.

To read the letter and signatories, see: http://ceprdata.org/savesipp/orgletter-name.pdf
For signatories listed by state, see: http://ceprdata.org/savesipp/orgletter-state.pdf

President Bush's FY07 budget would eliminate the Census Bureau survey, which provides in-depth data on the effects of programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and unemployment insurance.

"This is another short-sighted budget cut that will inhibit the government's ability to make well-informed decisions about Social Security, Medicaid and other critical programs," said Andrew Imparato, President and CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities.

The letter states: "As advocates for family well-being, we are alarmed that the President's FY2007 budget calls for the elimination of the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Elimination of the SIPP would make it more difficult for researchers to assess the economic and social situation of the country's families and the impact of state and national policies. The lack of accurate information will inevitably have negative consequences for low-income families and children."

The letter was circulated by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Last month, CEPR circulated a similar letter that was signed by 432 social science researchers, including Brookings Institution fellow Ron Haskins and Nobel Laureate economists George Akerlof and Lawrence Klein.

Launched in 1984, the SIPP is a multi-panel, nationally representative dataset created by the U.S. Census. It was designed to measure economic well-being, including program participation, with in-depth questions on wealth and assets, debt, childcare usage, work schedules, disabilities, medical expenses, detailed educational attainment information, and detailed information on fertility. The survey tracks individuals for two to four years, with the most recent surveys tracking over 90,000 individuals.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that promotes democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues affecting people's lives. CEPR's Advisory Board of Economists includes Nobel Laureate economists Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz; Richard Freeman, Professor of Economics at Harvard University; and Eileen Appelbaum, Professor and Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University.