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Citizenship Question Used on Census for 175 Years, GOP Report Shows


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A new report from House Republicans shows a citizenship question appeared on the U.S. census in one form or another for nearly 175 years, and argues that its addition to the 2020 census should not be controversial despite Democrats’ objections.

“Every decennial census from 1820 to 1950 inquired about citizenship,” the minority staff report released Thursday by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform says, adding:

From 1970 to 2000, the long-form census—sent to a segment of the population—inquired about citizenship. Since 2005, the Census Bureau has asked 3.5 million Americans about their citizenship every year.

Those census appearances cover almost 175 of the 229 years since the first U.S. census in 1790.

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“This report analyzes the history of the citizenship question and demonstrates that Democrats’ efforts to sow fear and controversy around its reinstatement are without any merit beyond scoring political points,” the minority committee staff says in a press release. 

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking member on the committee, authorized release of the nine-page report and appendix.

Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy, said 1950 was the last time the government asked the citizenship question on the “short form” census that goes to all American households. 

After 1950, the citizenship question “migrated to the long form that went to a select group of households,” Gonzalez said. 

“When the long form was replaced by the American Community Survey—which is sent every year to about 3.5 million households across the country—in 2006, the question then migrated to the ACS,” Gonzalez added.:snip:

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