ANA to Department of Commerce: Don’t Ask About Citizenship

June 12, 2018

In late March 2018, the Commerce Department announced that they would include a question in regard to citizenship status in the 2020 US Census for the first time since 1950. The question specifically asks respondents to state whether or not they are a citizen of the United States. Numerous experts have stated that the citizenship question will elicit a distrustful response to the census from both noncitizens and even legal immigrants. This foreseeable reaction will negatively impact the accuracy of the census since certain populations would be more likely to skip the census due to fear of potential adverse consequences.

ANA opposes the 2020 Census including a citizenship question. Many of our members believe (based on a survey of our members) that the non-respondent bias as a result of undercounting parts of the population will lead to a distortion in marketing research. Marketers, who often rely on and utilize census data, would be misled by the inaccurate census count and would misguidedly allocate resources and investments away from millions of members in underreported communities. This misrepresentation of minority groups would make it more difficult to target multicultural consumers and would skew the budgets and strategies of marketers nationwide. ANA has sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross requesting the Department to reconsider the addition of the citizenship question. ANA will continue to follow closely and express our views on this important issue.


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