Remove the Citizenship Question from the 2020 Census

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice submitted comments to the Commerce Department to voice our opposition to the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census: 

Any census changes that may discourage participation must be understood against the backdrop of an already disquieting undercount of people of color and foreign-born individuals. More than 1.5 million people of color went uncounted nationwide in the 2010 census, including an estimated 2.06% net undercount of the Black population and a 1.54% net undercount of the Latino population.

Approximately 22% of New Jersey’s total population currently live in so-called “hard-to-count” (HTC) areas. New Jersey is one of the most racially segregated states in the nation and people of color are significantly more likely to live in HTC areas than white people. Fifty-one percent of the state’s Black population, 40% of its Latino population, and 21% of its Asian population live in HTC areas, as compared to only 13% of white New Jerseyans. Further, 22.5% of New Jersey’s population is foreign-born, and in 2014 nearly one-in-four immigrants in the state was undocumented.

When already-marginalized communities go unrepresented in the census, they go unrepresented in the government as a whole. They lose representatives in the legislature, life-sustaining federal funds like Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and visibility in research that relies on census data to measure racial and gender inequities.

To read the full comments, please click here