FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6/27/2019

CONTACT: Meera Venugopal
2123445878, Ext:224
meera.venugopal@aafederation.org


Supreme Court Rules to Block Citizenship Question from 2020 Census Bringing Relief to Asian Communities

New York City - Today, the United States Supreme Court blocked the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census, sending the case back to the lower courts. It is not clear if the administration will have time to provide the fuller accounting that the Supreme Court has asked for of the reasons behind adding the citizenship question. Since census forms are supposed to be printed beginning next week, it may be safe to assume that the forms will go out without the citizenship question. The inclusion of the question was widely expected to lead to an undercount of minority and immigrant populations. The US Census Bureau recently released an analysis that estimates the citizenship question would have led to an 8 percent undercount of non-citizen residents. Including the question would have had an immense impact on the Asian American community in New York and New Jersey -- states that have 532,000 and 268,000 Asian American non-citizen immigrants respectively. As a result of the court ruling, these Asian communities will no longer have to face an additional barrier to receiving the resources and representation that an accurate Census affords.

The inclusion of the question was widely expected to lead to an undercount of minority and immigrant populations. The US Census Bureau recently released an analysis that estimates the citizenship question would have led to an 8 percent undercount of non-citizen residents. Including the question would have had an immense impact on the Asian American community in New York and New Jersey -- states that have 532,000 and 268,000 Asian American non-citizen immigrants respectively. As a result of the court ruling, these Asian communities will no longer have to face an additional barrier to receiving the resources and representation that an accurate Census affords.

However, since many Asian American immigrants are wary of interacting with the federal government, nonprofit groups like the Asian American Federation are ramping up efforts to encourage Asian Americans across the two states to participate fully in the Census. Efforts are ongoing to make Asian American communities aware of both the confidentiality of Census data and the vital importance of participating in the Census. We will continue to work with both the New York Counts 2020 Coalition and the Census 2020 New Jersey Coalition to ensure that Asian American communities are informed, included, and empowered to get their fair share of federal funds and representation.

The 2020 Census will have a decades-long impact on the distribution of $900 billion of annual funding from 300 federal programs, including many that Asian American communities rely heavily on, such as Medicare for seniors, bilingual language programs for recent immigrants, and transportation infrastructure. Moreover, Census population data will determine the allocation of Congressional seats, impacting the future of American democracy for the next decade.

Spreading awareness around the importance of participating in the Census thus remains pivotal. According to a poll done by US Census Bureau earlier this year, only 55% of Asian Americans surveyed reported that they were "extremely" or "very likely" to fill out the Census, the lowest rate of any major racial or ethnic group. Although carried out long before the citizenship question was struck down, there nevertheless remains a strong fear and suspicion among Asian American communities of what the federal government intends to do with the information collected from the 2020 Census. Moreover, over 20% of Asian Americans live in "hard to count" Census tracts, furthering the need for full participation in order to bring in government investment into already marginalized communities.

As an organization working on behalf of Asian Americans, we believe the collection of useful, objective data about our nation’s people, housing, economy, and communities, is vitally important. Without reliable data, Asian-serving nonprofit agencies will be unable to plan for future services, adapt to new and emerging needs, and apply for both public and private grants that require applicants to quantify the impact of their programs. With accurate and detailed data from the 2020 Census, we will be able to more effectively target limited resources to best match the needs of Asian American populations. Our efforts in the coming months will be concentrated on urging Asian American immigrant communities to fully participate in the collection process so as to have a full, fair and accurate census.