Census Debate on Citizen Question Continues

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced it will hold a hearing on May 8 to review the Trump Administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. (NPR)  The announcement followed persistent requests from House members and advocates.  A concern is that the Commerce Department will not release documents committee members think they need to perform their oversight function in advance of the hearing.  A similar request has been presented in the Senate, though the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee has yet to announce hearing plans.  Inclusion of the citizenship question, which has not gone through the Census Bureau's routine development and testing process, is not in line with the Constitutional requirement for the decennial census, argues former Commerce Department undersecretary, Robert Shapiro, and is likely to cause undercounts that will reduce congressional districts and federal allocations in states that have some of the nation's highest poverty rates. An op-ed by former Census Bureau directors in the Wall Street Journal expressed concerns about the cost the decision will add to the census process and negative consequences for business. WSJ also reports on challenges the announcement is posing for the 2020 Census test currently underway in Providence, RI. The Census Project tracks articles about the impact of the proposed citizenship question.

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