On Eve of 2020 Census, Many People in Hard-to-Count Groups Remain Concerned about Participating

Michael Karpman, Stephen Zuckerman, and Dulce Gonzalez
Date of Publication: 
February, 2020
Source Organization: 
Urban Institute

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, this abortive effort has sown great confusion across the country. Drawing on data from the December 2019 “Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey,” this report from the Urban Institute finds that although three-quarters of nonelderly adults report that they will participate in the 2020 Census, individual self-reported intent to participate is lower among 18-34 year-olds, those living with children, nonwhites, families with noncitizens, and/or high-poverty communities.  Nearly one-third of nonelderly adults are extremely or very concerned about who will have access to their Census responses, and how they will be used.  This sentiment is shared by 40 percent of nonwhite and Hispanic adults and adults in immigrant families. The survey found that nearly 70 percent of adults hold the mistaken belief that the Census will ask about citizenship status, and immigrant families believe the data will be used to find and deport people without documentation.  Other historically hard-to-count groups, including families with young children and young adults, have low self-reported intentions to participate, while the lowest recorded intent is found in high-poverty communities. Congressional redistricting and the distribution of federal funds to the states all draw on Census data, and federal law prohibits sharing identifiable information with other agencies, but mistaken beliefs and lack of information about 2020 Census data will likely limit participation by people who might stand to gain from future policy changes. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Karpman, M., Zuckerman, S., & Gonzalez, D. (2020, February). On Eve of 2020 Census, Many People in Hard-to-Count Groups Remain Concerned about Participating. Urban Institute. https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/101732/on20eve20of20202020census2c20many20people20in20hard-to-count20groups20remain20concerned20about20participating.pdf