(US) Census Comments Invited on Proposed Information Collection 2020 US Census

The following message was posted to the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) mailing list by Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

The (US) Federal Register published on June 8, 2018 an invitation to the public to submit comments on proposed information collection for the US 2020 Census. Comments must be received by August 7, 2018.

Concern is that there not be an undercount of people living in different areas—cities, towns, rural areas as that results in the loss of federal funds. The undercounts may affect children, minorities including Asian Americans, Latinos, African Americans. American Indians and Alaska Natives, homeless, low incomes and people of Middle Eastern descent.

A major concern to some, and one which is the subject of several law suits is the addition of a question on citizenship which may deter some from responding. This has been discussed in previous IAJGS Record Access Alerts.

Prior to the census being conducted it is necessary to delineate all geographic areas into Type of Enumeration Areas (TEAs). For the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is using In-Office Address Canvassing for the first time, in addition to In-Field Address Canvassing. Since 2015, the Census Bureau has used analysis of satellite imagery to identify areas of the United States and Puerto Rico where changes in living quarters have occurred. The Census Bureau will make a final determination on which areas will be canvassed using In-Field Address Canvassing by March 2019.

The Census Bureau will be using an internet questionnaire-an option not available for the 2020 Census. The proposed collection to which comments are invited have many attributes discussed about this new option.

Comments are invited on several points:

  1. Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility;
  2. The accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden Start Printed Page 26653 (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information;
  3. Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  4. ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments should be directed to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 or by email to PRAcomments@doc.gov; or on the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

To read the proposed information collection see: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/06/08/2018-12365/proposed-information-collection-comment-request-2020-census

To read the previous IAJGS Records Access Alert postings about the US 2020 Census and more go to: http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/private/records-access-alerts/. You must be registered to access the archives. To register go to: http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/listinfo/records-access-alerts and follow the instructions to enter your email address, full name and which genealogical organization with whom you are affiliated You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee



Why is it that it is always minorities that are affected? Reminds me of the joke where an asteroid was heading for earth and would destroy the entire planet and the newspaper headline said, “Women, children and minorities first to be affected.”


Check the form used for the 1900 census. The census form/questions used in 2010 were terrible!!


Thank you for the link!
I just emailed a suggestion that 2020 contain a question asking place of residence in 2015. That question in 1940 has been extraordinarily helpful to me. In our fast moving gig economy, future researchers may find it equally problem solving.
I also commented, of course, that place of birth is much more helpful information than citizenship.


The back side of the census card is written in Mexican. We live in the United States of America. The census is the US census not the illegal Mexican census. We need to focus on Americans not foreigners. Remove all things and languages not English.


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