NEWS21 October 2019

Majority of US adults plan to take part in census

News North America Public Sector Trends

US – The majority of US adults say they intend to take part in the country’s 2020 census, but reluctance is higher among minority groups, according to a survey from Pew Research Center.

US census questionnaire

With the decennial count taking place on 1st April next year, 84% of respondents in the Pew survey said they ‘definitely or probably will participate’.

Around 16% expressed some uncertainty about completing the census – including those who say they ‘might or might not’, ‘probably will not’ or ‘definitely will not’ participate.

Black and Hispanic respondents were more likely to say they probably or definitely will not, or might or might not take part in the census – 26% of black respondents and 21% of Hispanic respondents, compared to 12% of white survey respondents.

While most respondents ( 78%) felt that completing the census questionnaire would neither benefit nor harm them personally, some feel it will harm them, including 4% of Hispanic adults, 3% of black adults and 1% of white adults.

Pew conducted the survey online using its American Trends Panel between 16th-29th September among 6,878 adults. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish.

Awareness of the census is high, with 98% of respondents saying they had heard of it. The census received a large amount of media coverage earlier in the year, after the Trump administration dropped its plans to include a citizenship question following a Supreme Court ruling. Critics of the question said it could negatively impact turnout and data quality.