Thursday, March 29, 2018

Restrictions on Census make citizenship question less "dangerous" than it sounds


First, here is NPR’s research on the citizenship question on the census in the past, and the relation to the American Community Survey.
  
There is a great deal of criticism, even rather collective uproar, over the Trump administration’s wanting to put the citizenship question back on the 2020 census and other special surveys. 
   
Would it lead to lower participation of minorities and lower voter turnout later?
  
At least twelve blue states are suing the Trump administration over the question. 
  
I worked for Census, on the diennial in 2010, and on the Current Population Survey in 2011.  This crisscrossed the time when my mother passed away, so it was a somewhat turbulent time personally.  But I can share a couple perspectives.

One is that Census is not allowed to share PII with any other government agency.  We were sworn to that.  Another is that census survey interview employees are scored on how effective they are in getting all the interviews, especially in the CPS were there was a 10 day period every month to complete the assignment. But it was common to turn in difficult interviews without all questions answered, or with some answers “deducted.”
  

Properly conducted, there is no reason for adding the question to reduce the participation of minorities or undocumented persons or Dreamers in the surveys.
  
In 2010/2011 at least, respondents were asked if they considered themselves Hispanic even though they might be European or Caucasian.  The next census would collect information on legally married same-sex couples and families with same-sex parents (voluntary, NPR reference).  Apparently it won’t collect stats on LGBT otherwise.  Trump seems not to want the LGBT community to function as a potentially intersectional “group” politically, even if it has little or no opposition (outside of a couple of extremist appointments) to LGBT individuals.  (The trans military issue is still a problem.) 


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