Census advisers say decision to add citizenship question based on ‘flawed logic’

Advisers for the U.S. Census Bureau argue the Trump administration’s decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census was based on “flawed logic” and could lead to an inaccurate count in the census.

The Census Scientific Advisory Committee said in a statement that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had cited data that was no longer relevant in his argument that the question wouldn’t cause immigrants in the country illegally to avoid taking the census, The New York Times reported.

The advisers said in the statement addressed to acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin that Ross used “data collected in a different data collection context, in a different political climate, before anti-immigrant attitudes were as salient and consequential” as they are now.

The panel, which includes top economists and demographers, also said the wording of the question should have been tested, and that the bureau should start doing so immediately.


And the advisers also said the new question had “implications for attitudes about the Census Bureau,” which is a nonpartisan entity.

The Trump administration faced immediate backlash after officials announced Monday that the question would be added to the 2020 census.

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.

Census data is used to determine federal funding levels, meaning inaccurate counts could impact states’ appropriations.

While the bureau has in recent years included the question of citizenship in annual surveys, it has for decades generally steered clear of including it in the survey issued to Americans every 10 years. 

Tags Census Bureau Wilbur Ross

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