As the 2020 U.S. census approaches, Americans overwhelmingly are aware of it, and more than eight-in-ten (84%) say they definitely or probably will participate, a new Pew Research Center survey finds.
Black and Hispanic adults, as well as those with lower income levels, are more likely to say they probably or definitely will not participate in the census, or that they might or might not. Black and Hispanic adults have been undercounted in the past, while lower-income adults are classified as a “hard to count” population, according to Census Bureau research.
There is no notable difference between Democrats and Republicans (including those who lean toward each party) when it comes to awareness of the census and intention to participate.
The new national survey was conducted online Sept. 16-29 among 6,878 adults, in English and Spanish.
Most U.S. households will receive mailings in March asking them to participate. In addition to the basic population count, the form asks for each person’s age, sex, Hispanic origin, race and relationship to the resident in their household who fills out the questionnaire. Census numbers are used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives among the states, redistrict political boundaries within states, guide the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funds and support public, nonprofit and commercial research.
Census Bureau Director Stephen Dillingham said at a congressional hearing in July that publicity over the citizenship question may have increased awareness of the 2020 census.
Among adults in the new survey, there is near-universal (94%) belief that the census is very important (63%) or somewhat important (31%) for the United States.
When it comes to the impact on their community, about half of adults (48%) say that filling out the census form will have a beneficial effect and half (48%) say it will have neither a beneficial nor a harmful one. Another 3% say it will harm their community.
Census Bureau research has found that the actual census response rate is lower than the share of adults who say they intend to participate. The lower the self-response rate, the more the Census Bureau spends on sending employees to knock on the doors of nonresponding households, and the responses could be less accurate.
Source: Cohn, D. And Brown, A. (2019, October 18). Most U.S. Adults Intend To Participate In 2020 Census, But Some Demographic Groups Aren’t Sure. Pew Research Center.
Editor’s Note: This is ultimately THE most valuable, single piece of research in the country. Here’s a survey on how people feel about the upcoming 2020 count.