NEWS25 January 2021

Citizenship information will not be included in US census data

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US – Following an executive order from US president Joe Biden, data released from the 2020 census will not include information on citizenship or immigration, the Census Bureau has said.

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The agency has suspended its work on a project initiated by the Trump administration to collect data on immigration status.

The Trump administration made several attempts to add a citizenship question to the decennial census. After the Supreme Court blocked the move in 2019, Trump issued an executive order compelling federal agencies to provide citizenship data in connection with the census based on existing government records.

Attempts to gather citizenship data as part of the census were opposed by civil rights groups and business organisations including the Insights Association. 

Biden issued an executive order on the first day of his presidency ( 20th January), revoking the previous directive for federal agencies to share information on citizenship in connection with the census.  

In an update on its website, the Bureau said: “The US Census Bureau is implementing the president’s executive order ‘Ensuring a Lawful and Accurate Enumeration and Apportionment Pursuant to the Decennial Census'. The 2020 Census data products including the P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Summary Data File will not include information on citizenship or immigration status.”

All work on citizenship data regarding the census was “suspended on January 12, 2021,” it confirmed.

The Census Bureau also said its Census Redistricting and Voting Rights Data Office would work with the Department of Justice’s Voting Section to confirm that citizen voting age population data produced from the American Community Survey, published annually since 2011, continues to meet its statistical needs. 

Data from the census is used to apportion congressional seats and allocate federal funding. Data collection was completed last year after being disrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Census Bureau missed its deadline of 31st December 2020 to provide apportionment data to Congress.