NPR

Adding Citizenship Question Risks 'Bad Count' For 2020 Census, Experts Warn

The Justice Department has asked the Census Bureau to reinstate a question about citizenship on the census. But some say that kind of question could jeopardize the headcount's accuracy.

Every decade, the U.S. Census Bureau asks some personal questions for the national headcount required by the constitution. But since 1960, one topic that hasn't come up for all U.S. residents is citizenship.

The Trump administration is trying to change that with a Department of Justice request for a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.

In a letter to the Census Bureau, first reported by ProPublica, a Justice Department official made the case for asking about citizenship. In order for the department to enforce the Voting Rights Act's protections against racial discrimination in voting, the official wrote, it needs a better count of citizens who are old enough to vote.

The Census Bureau confirms the bureau received the letter. "The request will go through the well-established process required for any potential new

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
Pumpsie Green, 1st Black Player On The Boston Red Sox, Dies At 85
The Boston Red Sox were the last Major League Baseball team to integrate, some 12 years after Jackie Robinson played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
NPR1 min read
U.S. Navy Ship Destroys Iranian Drone Over Strait Of Hormuz
President Trump says the drone had closed to approximately 1,000 yards of the U.S. warship, "ignoring multiple calls to stand down."
NPR3 min readPolitics
Acting Head Of Customs and Border Protection Says New Asylum Rule In 'Pilot' Phase
"Although the new federal regulation allows us to apply that all 2,000 miles along the Southwest border, we're not going to do that," Mark Morgan told NPR.