Fast Take

Memes circulating on-line declare that former President Barack Obama eliminated the citizenship query from the 2010 census. He didn’t. The citizenship query in 2010 was dealt with the identical method it had been since 1970. 


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The Trump administration’s battle so as to add a query about citizenship to the 2020 census was misplaced in June when the Supreme Courtroom dominated that the administration had hid the rationale it sought so as to add the query. The bulk dominated that the administration gave a “contrived,” reasonably than “real,” justification for the query, and thus barred it from being included within the decennial census.

The difficulty, although, continues to be being debated and an error has been extensively launched into that debate on social media. A number of completely different memes are circulating on-line primarily based on the false declare that former President Barack Obama eliminated the citizenship query from the 2010 census.

One common model of the declare is from Charlie Kirk, founding father of the younger conservative group Turning Level USA. His tweet has been favored greater than 75,000 occasions and was a meme on Fb. Kirk wrote: “If Barack Obama was capable of take away the Citizenship Query from the census in 2010 with out Supreme Courtroom approval Why does President Trump want their approval to place it again on?”

However Obama didn’t take away the citizenship query from the census.

Explaining how the misunderstanding developed requires some background.

Beginning at the start, the Structure mandates that the U.S. inhabitants be counted each 10 years with the intention to decide the variety of representatives every state ought to have and to distribute federal funds. The following decennial census is in 2020.

Because the nation’s inhabitants grew, the complexity of the census additionally grew. In 1940, the Census Bureau, for the primary time, used sampling as a approach to get extra detailed details about the inhabitants with out overburdening all residents with too many questions. That 12 months it despatched extra questions to only 5 p.c of the inhabitants and used statistical methods to broaden the outcomes. By 1970, the bureau was sending out a short-form questionnaire to each U.S. family and a long-form complement with extra detailed inquiries to a fraction of U.S. households.

In 1997, the bureau outlined a plan to get rid of the long-form questionnaire after 2000 and exchange it with the American Group Survey, which might be despatched out to a small pattern of households yearly as a substitute of as soon as each 10 years. In 2005, the bureau began utilizing that survey — which U.S. residents are required by regulation to reply, simply as they’re required to reply the census.

That background is necessary for understanding the place the citizenship questions have been requested.

Right here’s the way it has been dealt with since 1820, the primary 12 months {that a} citizenship query was included:

  • 1820 — The nation’s fourth census requested this query of every family within the U.S.: “Variety of foreigners not naturalized.” The next census in 1830 included a variation on that query.
  • 1840 — The citizenship query wasn’t requested this 12 months. It wasn’t included in 1850 or 1860, both, though these questionnaires did ask about an individual’s “hometown,” a query that the federal government would proceed to ask, in some kind, by way of right now.
  • 1870 — The primary census following the Civil Struggle requested two particular citizenship questions: “Is the individual a male citizen of the US of 21 years or upwards?” and “Is the individual a male citizen of the US of 21 years or upwards whose proper to vote is denied or abridged on grounds apart from ‘riot or different crime?’”
  • 1880 — The census didn’t embody any citizenship questions.
  • 1890 — The citizenship query returned this 12 months, asking: “Is the individual naturalized?” That query remained within the subsequent 4 questionnaires, including the phrase “or an alien” in 1910, 1920 and 1930.  
  • 1940 — The census included this query: “If international born, is the individual a citizen?” The 1950 census included the identical query.
  • 1960 — This census didn’t embody a citizenship query.
  • 1970 — The short-form questionnaire despatched to each family didn’t embody a citizenship query, however the supplemental long-form questionnaire despatched to some households requested: “For individuals born in a international country- Is the individual naturalized?” The 1980 census dealt with the query in an identical method.
  • 1990 — The short-form questionnaire despatched to each family once more didn’t ask about citizenship, however the lengthy kind despatched to some households requested: “Is that this individual a citizen of the US?” The identical was true for the 2000 census.
  • 2005 — The primary American Group Survey was despatched out with this query: “Is that this individual a citizen of the US?”
  • 2010 — The decennial census despatched to each U.S. family didn’t embody a citizenship query, like the entire short-form questionnaires since 1960. The American Group Survey, which had changed the long-form census, included the identical citizenship query because it did in 2005 and continues to right now.

Because the timeline exhibits, Obama didn’t take away the citizenship query from the census.

Plans to interchange the long-form questionnaire with the American Group Survey have been underway in the course of the Clinton administration and the shift occurred in the course of the Bush administration. The 2010 census that occurred in the course of the Obama administration dealt with the citizenship query the identical method it had been since 1970; there was no citizenship query on the short-form questionnaire despatched to each U.S. family, however a citizenship query was requested on the supplemental kind despatched out to a smaller pattern of households.

Editor’s word: FactCheck.org is one in all a number of organizations working with Fb to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our earlier tales could be discovered right here.

Sources

Division of Commerce v. New York. No. 18–966. Supreme Courtroom of the U.S. 27 Jun 2019.

U.S. Census Bureau. Index of Questions. Accessed 11 Jul 2019.

U.S. Census Bureau. “The American Group Survey: The Census Bureau’s Plan to Present Well timed 21st Century Knowledge.” 1997.

U.S. Census Bureau. American Group Survey (ACS) Questionnaire Archive. Accessed 11 Jul 2019.

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