Posts Tagged ‘Census’

2020 CENSUS – WHY BOTHER?

May 6, 2020

By now, everyone has had the opportunity to review and complete the 2020 census. The census is, or at least was originally, generated to identify the number of elected government officials required to do an adequate job of representing the citizens of America. This year, as in recent years, there will be no question regarding the citizenship status of the persons filling in the form or those living within the dwellings covered by the forms. Therefore, why bother completing the form?

From census.gov: “The first censuses counted the population and provided information on population by county. In 1790, the census also categorized white males by age: those under age 16 and those age 16 and older. Over the years, Congress has authorized additional questions, enabling us to better understand the nation’s inhabitants and their activities and needs. In fact, one of the nation’s founders, James Madison, suggested that the census takers ask additional questions that would help lawmakers better understand the needs of the nation.”

Since the first few enumerations, many questions have been added as Madison indicated might be necessary. Some of the questions that appeared temporarily were used for statistical purposes not related to government representation. E.g. Where was this person born? For the purpose of representation today, it is not vital to know where the person was born eight, twenty or fifty years ago. However, some questions that no longer appear on the census that are relevant include veteran status and service dates. This might be useful to the government for the allocation of funds to Veterans Services such as medical centers, disability benefits, etc.

One question that has been asked throughout the ages is the sex of the respondent and household members. This year, as in the past, the choices are male and female. This one is sure to raise eyebrows in today’s world. There are many people who choose not to identify in a normal or binary fashion. They will be lost when they cannot fill in one of two boxes. There are, however, more than thirty choices for race/ethnicity.

The one question that is not on the 2020 census that appeared on the last two decennial data collections is arguably one of the most important. That question is: Is this person a citizen of the United States?

For many taxpayers, this is a very important question. Why do we apportion a limited number of elected officials to represent foreign nationals and allocate social benefits to aliens who are possibly terrorists or other subversives?

It is disturbing to me and many patriotic citizens of this country that we do not have an accurate count of the number of people who are in this country illegally. The census should fill in that void. If the question of citizenship or legal status appeared on this document we would have a much better sense of that.

There are reasons why a person is in the country at the time of census. They might be here on Permanent Resident (aka, Green Card) status which allows foreign citizens the right and opportunity to work in the United States. They might be here with legitimate visas for work, study, teaching, travel or any of a number of reasons. Shouldn’t we have a count of those still within the limits of their visas and those who have overstayed the time, opportunity or authority granted by such? Shouldn’t the census give us an idea of the number of legitimate voters in a district, state or within our nation?

Is the decennial census still relevant to the needs of the country today, or is it simply another tool that has been purposefully outdated by our elected officials for political purposes?