Oppose Citizenship Question on 2020 Census

The Department of Commerce has initiated a 60-day public comment period on their misguided decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. This question will discourage some immigrants from participating for fear that the information will be used to harm them or members of their household.  This, in turn, will threaten the accuracy of the count.  

Census data are used to draw district lines for  fair political representation and for the allocation of $675 billion in  resources.  It also helps businesses decide where to build and grow. Without an accurate count, communities across the country — largely those with greater populations of immigrants and people of color — will see a disproportionate reduction in federal funding and diminished voting power. This outcome  will disproportionately favor Republicans in redistricting. 


The National Democratic Redistricting Committee urges everyone to comment on the proposed addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form.  You can comment directly to the the Department of Commerce.

Comments should be simple and direct; what matters is that you make your voice heard. Show how this decision impacts you and your community, while hitting four critical points:

  1. The addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census questionnaire is not necessary.  Recently-released documents reveal that the question was added to advance the agenda of operatives like Steve Bannon and Kris Kobach — NOT to help the administration’s (non-existent) enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, as they have claimed.

  2. Adding the citizenship question will vastly increase the burden on the Census Bureau — both in terms of hours and cost to American taxpayers.  The late addition of this untested question will reduce response rates and require more enumerators. This will likely add significant costs to the American taxpayer — costs that were not planned for and are not necessary.

  3. Removing the citizenship question from the proposed list of questions will enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected by the 2020 Census.  Adding the citizenship question at this point serves only to undermine the Census Bureau’s process, tarnish its reputation, and impugn the integrity, fairness, and accuracy of the data that results.

  4. Removing the citizenship question from the proposed list of questions will minimize the burden on the Census Bureau in executing its constitutional responsibility to conduct a fair and accurate count of every person living in the United States.  Career staff at the Census Bureau made clear to the political leaders at the Commerce Department that the inclusion of a citizenship question would negatively impact response rates, increase costs, and result in less valuable data — but the political operatives added it anyway.