Talking Points Memo
An internal Census Bureau memo assessing the debate over adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census warned that doing so would be “very costly, harms the quality of the census count, and would use substantially less accurate citizenship status data than are available from administrative sources.”
The memo — sent to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in January 2018 by John M. Abowd, census chief scientist and associate director for research and methodology — said that his “conservative estimate” for the additional cost of adding the question was $27.5 million.
“Citizenship status is misreported at a very high rate for noncitizens, citizenship status is missing at a high rate for citizens and noncitizens due to reduced self-response and increased item nonresponse, nonresponse followup costs increase by at least $27.5M, erroneous enumerations increase, whole-person census imputations increase,” the memo said.
The memo was one of more than 1,000 pages of documents the Commerce Department released late Friday evening, as part of the lawsuits challenging the move to add the question, which was announced in March.