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Michael R. Strain

U.S. Census Shouldn't Ask About Citizenship

The population count has to be accurate. Questions that scare immigrants and minority-group members would make it less so.
Get it right.

Get it right.

Photographer: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

There are many ways to illustrate the importance of the U.S. census, and one that should resonate strongly with conservatives is this: It is required by the Constitution. And right up front — Article 1, Section 2.

The Founding Fathers thought it was pretty important, and it is. For one thing, the census — which is designed to be a complete count of the U.S. population conducted every 10 years — determines how many seats in the House of Representatives are awarded to each state. The population counts produced by the census also help determine how hundreds of billions of federal dollars are distributed across states and localities, and influence the decisions of businesses and state and local governments. Problems with the 2020 census will be with us until at least the next count, 10 years later.