Census citizenship question could cost Ohio
Posted March 20, 2019 in Press Releases
The potential inclusion of a citizenship status question in the 2020 census could intimidate hard to reach communities, lead to an undercount and potentially cost Ohio federal important funding, according to Policy Matters Outreach Director Daniel Ortiz.
The Trump administration proposed including the controversial citizenship question last year. It would be the first time the U.S. Census Bureau asks about citizenship status since 1950. Two federal judges said including the question violated the Constitution. The Supreme Court said it will hear arguments about the case. Ortiz spoke out against the Trump proposal at the Midwest Regional Hearing of the National Latino Commission on Census 2020 in Columbus today.
“Making respondents report their citizenship status would lower response rates, raise administrative overhead, and reduce the accuracy of census data, but the highest costs would fall on underserved communities that are disproportionately Black, brown and immigrant,” he said. “The question would erode confidence in government, intimidate families into skipping the census and push people further into the shadows.
Ortiz said Ohio’s Latino community is at particular risk of being intimidated by the citizenship question. Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted several raids and detained more than 250 workers. Following the hurricanes of 2017, many Puerto Ricans have relocated to Cleveland, Lorain and Youngstown. Although Puerto Ricans are American citizens, Ortiz said the lack of disaster relief from the Trump administration has eroded the community’s faith in the federal government.
The 2010 census undercounted more than 1 million children, missing Black and Latino children twice as often. More than 100,000 Ohio children ages 0-4 are at risk of being undercounted, according to the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. Based on the census, Ohio receives $21 billion in federal funding. It goes toward programs like Medicaid, which insures nearly a quarter of Ohio’s population; and Head Start, which provides young children from low-income families with high quality early education.
“Without an accurate count of children our state and local government could lose billions of dollars in resources we need to reduce child poverty, hunger, and infant mortality,” Ortiz said.
Following the hearing, Ortiz will join Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio Executive Director Tracy Najera to discuss what’s at stake on Facebook Live. Go to our Facebook page at 1 p.m. to join the conversation.