How The Citizenship Question Could Skew The Census

From the number of congressional seats to the distribution of federal funds, the U.S. Census is a big deal. Brut spoke with a sociologist about why the Supreme Court's decision about including a question about citizenship status could change everything.

How The Citizenship Question Could Skew The Census

Your citizenship status could soon be under the scrutiny of the Department of Commerce due to politics. If the Supreme Court law justices side with the department, there could be national changes to the 2020 U.S. Census. Andrew Beveridge is a sociology professor and president of Social Explorer, which analyzes data to inform the government and businesses.

“There is a concern that if they ask citizenship on the short form or the general census, it will cut down response rates particularly among noncitizens.” says, Andrew Beveridge. So if areas are undercounted, they will get less of the resources that they would get if they were properly counted, and then the second thing is power. What it will do is it will distort redistricting.”

A natural experiment was done using the 2010 data that shows that it would cut the response rate for the whole census by about 9 percent for households that have one person that can't be confirmed as a citizen in it.

The effects would be in areas which have a large number of not of noncitizens. Just like the Texas border, the Southwest, California, New York, Chicago, Florida, all of those places will be very heavily affected by this by this addition. The experiment was carried out when Obama was president. The whole toxic atmosphere toward immigration that the Trump administration seeks to favor was not in play at all.

He followed the lead of other social scientists, and filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court law justices, to debunk political lies being spread by Trump administration officials — like that the citizenship question has been asked before on the census, or that adding the question could help restore voting rights.

The Supreme Court is expected to vote on the matter in June.