Census Bureau Releases 2020 Census Questions, Including One On Citizenship


Hansi Lo Wang, NPR

The U.S. Census Bureau has released the questions for the upcoming 2020 census. They include a question about citizenship as requested by the Justice Department and approved earlier this week by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census. For the national headcount, all U.S. households will encounter the question: "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

The citizenship numbers are needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act's protections against voting discrimination, according to the Census Bureau's report to Congress. Critics of the citizenship question, including California's state attorney general, have been filing lawsuits to try to remove the question from the 2020 questionnaire.

Other notable changes to the 2020 census form include new write-in areas for white and black origins for the race question and the distinction between opposite-sex and same-sex couples in the response categories for the relationship question.

The Census Bureau has been testing a questionnaire with most of the questions announced today — excluding the citizenship question that was only just approved by Ross — with nearly 280,000 housing units in Rhode Island's Providence County.

We've annotated the changes to the questions and some of the noteworthy features of the census below, explaining the reason behind — and some pushback against — questions on Hispanic/Latino origin, white and black origins, Asian and Pacific Islander groups, as well as same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.

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Hispanic/Latino origin:

Read more here.

White and black origins:

Read more here and here.

Asian and Pacific Islander groups:

Opposite-sex and same-sex couples:

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