Giving Compass' Take:

• Advocates are trying to ensure that there is no undercounting in the 2020 Census by fighting to remove a citizenship question from the survey. 

• What are the negative impacts if there is undercounting in the 2020 Census? 

• Read about how philanthropy can help address challenges with the Census. 


This week, the Supreme Court is expected to decide whether the 2020 Census will include a question that asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” The Trump Administration claims that the inclusion of the question on the Census would help enforce the Voting Rights Act, but advocates warn that the question may disenfranchise voters of color and allow policymakers to ignore the needs of key constituents.

Research indicates that the inclusion of this question could lead to a dramatic undercount of people of color in the Census, particularly people from Latinx and immigrant communities. Because the Census serves as the basis for drawing voting districts, determining Congressional representation, and distributing federal resources, the impact of this undercount could severely disenfranchise and damage some communities.

For this reason, may nonprofits have advocated for excluding this question in the Census, including filing lawsuits to prohibit adding the question. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in April on whether the question should be included in the 2020 Census. At the time, Justice Sotomayor said, “There’s no doubt people will respond less.” The Court is expected to deliver an official ruling this week, ahead of the U.S. Census Bureau’s July 1st deadline to finalize the census form for next year.

However, a recent twist in the case could delay the decision. A recent court filing by advocates challenging the citizenship question includes new documents that they say indicate the real reason for adding the citizenship question is to bias elections.

A Census undercount not only impacts voting districts or federal funding, it skews data used to determine whether there are enough local infrastructure and resources to serve all citizens, including children, people that have a developmental disability, or ex-offenders.

Read the full article about advocates fighting against undercounting in 2020 Census by Allison Grayson at Independent Sector.