Will you respond to the 2020 Census?

Will you respond to the 2020 Census?

Bottom Line: The Census is no more important today than it’s been at any point previously. It has received more attention than in times previous,however. The Constitutionally mandated Census must occur every ten years. It’s used to determine population for the purpose of determining the number of congressional representatives a state will have, the number of votes for states in the Electoral College and all the funding that goes along with a state’s population from the federal level. It’s a big deal. So much so that the Census Bureau is hiring 500,000 temporary workers to complete the Census next year.

Most of the attention on the 2020 Census has been on the controversy over the proposed “citizenship” question that was proposed by the Trump administration. Despite only two Census surveys having been conducted without any form of a citizenship question since the early 1800’s, there won’t be one next year after legal challenges were successful in blocking the Trump administration from adding it to the Census. 

What’s interesting is despite the obvious importance of the Census many people choose not to take part. According to the Pew Research Center...

  • 98% of Americans are familiar with the Census
  • Only 84% say they’ll likely participate

That leaves 14% of Americans, or an estimated 45+ million Americans choosing not to be counted for various reasons. There are racial differences. Here’s the breakout by race:

  • Black: 74%
  • Hispanic: 79%
  • White: 87%

A lot of attention has been paid to attempting to ensure minorities are counted. That was the crux of the legal challenge to the Trump administration’s inclusion of the question. What hasn’t gained much attention are how many people, especially minorities, choose not to want to participate. Citizenship question or not. These are people who opted into research with Pew but aren’t willing to comply with federal requests for information. That’s a story unto itself. 

 

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