Estimating the Effect of Asking About Citizenship on the U.S. Census: Results from a Randomized Controlled

Citation:

Matthew A. Baum, Bryce Jensen Dietrich, Rebecca Goldstein, and Maya Sen. Working Paper. “Estimating the Effect of Asking About Citizenship on the U.S. Census: Results from a Randomized Controlled”.

Abstract:

The 2020 U.S. Census will, for the first time since 1950, ask about residents’ citizenship status.The effect of doing so on census completion across different racial/ethnic groups is, however, unknown. Leveraging a survey experiment (n = 9,035 respondents) we are the first to assess the causal effect of this question change. We find that asking about citizenship status significantly increases the percent of questions skipped, with particularly strong effects among Hispanics, and makes respondents less likely to report having members of their household who are of Hispanic ethnicity. Although our study is not designed to address household size effects, when we extrapolate to the general population, our results imply that asking about citizenship will reduce the number of Hispanics reported in the 2010 Census by approximately 4.2 million, or around 8.4 percent of the 2010 Hispanic population.