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Supreme Court Rejects for Now Adding Citizenship Question To the 2020 Census 

June 27, 2019

Tonya Harris at 202-393-2427

Supreme Court Rejects for Now Adding Citizenship Question

To the 2020 Census 

Urban Students Still at Risk of Being Undercounted in Census


WASHINGTON, June 27 – The Council of the Great City Schools applauds the decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court to disallow for now a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 decennial Census. A decision in the opposite direction would have exacerbated the undercounting of U.S. residents in urban jurisdictions, low-income areas, and communities of color, and it would have resulted in the misallocation of tens of millions of dollars in federal education aid. The decision is being remanded for further consideration.

“The court correctly decided today to block the Administration from manipulating the U.S. Census, exacerbating the undercount of residents, and skewing the distribution of critical federal education aid,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council. The organization’s brief before the court spelled out the negative effects on the nation’s major city public and private schools that a ruling allowing the question would have had. The court’s majority ruling agreed with the Council that the citizenship question would have resulted in “sufficiently concrete and imminent injury.” 

Still, urban and other communities will continue to struggle to ensure that all their residents are counted in 2020. Housing mobility, multi-family and multi-generational living arrangements, language barriers, and wariness of government intrusion complicate the traditional Census-taking process even in the best of circumstances.  

The challenge for urban school officials, local government leaders, and community groups will be to effectively reach out to residents to encourage universal participation in the 2020 Census survey.