REBECCA TIPPETT: Census' last minute question on citizenship jeopardizes accurate count

Grace Meng's office

Grace Meng's office Congresswoman Grace Meng at an Appropriations Committee meeting on March 20

A question to be added to the 2020 census form might have some non-U.S. citizens anxious.

Having citizenship data at the census block level will permit more effective enforcement of the VRA, and Secretary Ross determined that obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government goal outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts. Marion points to how the state is on the cusp of losing one of its two congressional districts in citing the importance of getting an accurate count of the state's population. That clause requires the census identify every person in the United States.

Blue states began suing the administration over the question just one day after the announcement, arguing that its inclusion will deter some from taking the census and lead to an inaccurate count.

Colorado U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, was an outspoken critic this week of the Trump administration's census plans.

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On Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed suit against the move, saying on Twitter that "California simply has too much to lose".

And finally, in the larger scheme of things, this would do far more harm than good due to how the data is used in the real world, since bad census data ends up harming us all.

Conducted once a decade, the US census began collecting data about same-sex couples in 1990, when the "unmarried partner" category was added to the relationship question to measure the growing trend of couples living together before tying the knot. Those factors explain why IL is one of at least 11 states that are gearing up to sue to keep the Trump administration from including the citizenship question in the census.

Introducing an additional, untested question so late in the census life cycle is concerning to demographers and social scientists, who like me, rely on the census as a key source of information about how and why our population is changing.

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made a decision to include the question because he said it would provide the government with important data and would allow it to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. For details, or if you want to join in the ongoing debate with other FedSmith readers, see 2020 Census Will Ask About Citizenship Status. In 2010, the overall census count was highly accurate, but certain populations were undercounted, meaning they were missed in the census totals.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross ordered the citizenship question added to the census Monday, days before the Sunday deadline to submit a final list of questions to Congress for review. The money would be used to provide counselors and census forms at government offices and social centers such as the local Y. It also would pay for laptops because the 2020 Census will be the first to go mostly online.

As reported by Latino Rebels, "virtually every national Latino organization is condemning the decision to ask for citizenship in the 2020 Census", including the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). The concern is the addition of this question without the standard rigor and vetting process the bureau typically takes for adding new census questions.

"The citizenship question is in the field constantly in the ACS".

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