The United States Constitution requires that every person in the country be counted every 10 years, a process we know as the U.S. Census. The data collected by the Census is used to determine the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, how district lines are drawn at all levels of government, and how federal budgets are allocated. These are high stakes, which makes it imperative that the population count is accurate.

The next Census starts in March of 2020, and the preparation for its launch has been filled with racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The main flashpoint was the Trump administration’s attempt to add a question about citizenship, a move many believed would deter major segments of the population from participating. And while the administration ultimately failed, advocates fear the damage has already been done.

Very young children are considered one of the hardest populations to count in the Census. The reasons are many but often include adults not realizing infants and toddlers should be counted, or the child divides time between two homes and there is miscommunication about which caregiver counted the child. In Los Angeles County however, large segments of young children belong to immigrant families who are less likely to participate in the count if they fear government reprisal. This is a problem, because if small children aren’t accurately counted, California could potentially get less federal funding than needed for programs such as Head Start.

Early in his tenure Trump, against the recommendation of the U.S. Census Bureau, suggested including the question of citizenship, claiming it would help the government have a more accurate count. Such a question hasn’t been included in the Census since 1950, as it was considered a hinderance to the accuracy of the count and therefore unconstitutional. This did not deter Trump’s administration however, and they pushed the question through.

A flurry of lawsuits and public outcry ensued, and throughout most of 2018 and the first half of 2019 it was unclear if the question would remain on the Census. Through the many lawsuits, the case made its way to the Supreme Court’s docket.

Just a month before the Supreme Court was set to rule on the question, documents became public that suggested adding a citizenship question to the Census would allow Republican politicians to gerrymander districts in their favor. This bombshell finding ultimately influenced the Court to block the addition of the question. And while the administration initially vowed to find a way to include the question, Trump ultimately conceded.

Advocates fear that the many months of back and forth on the question, coupled with the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, will deter the sizable population of immigrants, many with children, from participating. This could mean significant funding loss, especially for California, which is home to a large immigrant population.

To encourage full Census participation, First 5 LA has joined with partners throughout the county and state to support awareness. To help you, our readers, be informed we have compiled a library of news articles and resources from the last year. We hope you find this compendium helpful, and you are encouraged to join us in this effort.

Kids and the Census

USA Today: Count all kids in the 2020 Census. Getting it wrong will hurt children for 10 years
The 2010 Census missed nearly 1 million young children. A mistake like that hurts kids for 10 years. Here’s how we can avoid it in the 2020 Census. (Gupta and McCarthy, 6/26/18)

Education Week: Census Could Miss Counting Vulnerable Children, Advocacy Group Warns
The warning came as part of the foundation’s annual Kids Count data book released Wednesday, which tracks child well-being in four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. (Samuels, 06/27/18)

The Los Angeles Times: The 2020 Census could undercount 1 million kids – which means less money for California schools
Almost a quarter of the nation’s children under 5 are at risk of not being counted in the 2020 Census, which could have serious implications for the well-being of children around the United States, according to a recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Etehad, 7/9/18)

The Mercury News: Opinion: Don’t let California’s children be undercounted in 2020
The 2020 Census will have a tremendous impact on federal funding that states and localities receive for the next decade. And that means our kids are in jeopardy of being shortchanged on funding for programs that help them thrive. (Dobard and Lempert, 7/13/18)

The Hechinger Report: OPINION: When a low Census count hurts children’s well-being
The 2020 Census is mired in challenges that could shortchange the official count by 1.5 million children younger than age 5, a recent report cautions. An inaccurate count endangers children’s health and well-being. (Lesaux and Jones, 09/20/18)

Public Policy Institute of California: 2020 Census: Will All of California’s Children Be Counted?
As the country gears up for the 2020 Census, one big challenge will be ensuring a complete and accurate count of young children. Nationwide, the 2010 Census missed nearly a million children under 5, including about 210,000 young Californians, according to Census Bureau estimates. (Bohn and Hsieh, 4/10/19)

EdSource: Infants and toddlers the most undercounted in Census; California wants to change that
If you’re the parent of a California preschooler, don’t be surprised if they come home with a flyer reminding you to count them in the 2020 Census. (Stavely, 5/2/19)

KPCC, Take Two: Infants and the U.S. Census, CA population growth, slow freeways
Young children are among the hardest-to-reach populations when it comes to getting an accurate count in next year’s Census. Infants and toddlers have been historically undercounted. Guest: Kim Pattillo Brownson, vice president of policy and strategy, First 5 LA. (5/2/19)

New America: Make Sure Every Kid Counts in the 2020 Census
“The Census is the largest peacetime mobilization in America,” says journalist Adam Liptak. “Aside from sending troops overseas, this is when we put the most people into the field to do something.” (Sklar and Alexander, 5/20/19)

The Conversation: Will children in your state get the support they need? It depends on the 2020 Census
If the U.S. does not count all young children in the upcoming 2020 Census, states will not be able to obtain enough funding to provide children with critical support. (Hanna, 6/5/19)

The Los Angeles Times: Trump won’t get a citizenship question on the census, but Latino kids may still be undercounted
Jeanette Silva still hasn’t decided what she will do when a census packet arrives at her home a few miles from the banks of the Rio Grande. (Lee & Kambhampati, 8/6/19)

KPCC: At Census Time, Remember To Count Your Babies
The Supreme Court ruled to block the citizenship question from the 2020 Census for now, but L.A. County is still an area considered hard to count. (Neely, 6/28/19)

Census and California/Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles Times: L.A. County and city officials urge participation in 2020 Census
Fearing the loss of billions of dollars in federal aid, Los Angeles county and city officials held a rally in downtown’s Grand Park on Monday to urge public participation in the 2020 Census. (Parvini, 4/1/19)

KPCC: A year ahead of Census 2020, officials stress importance of being counted
Los Angeles county and city officials talked up the 2020 Census at a downtown L.A. rally on April 1, a year ahead of when the decennial count is set to take place. (Berestein Rojas, 4/3/19)

CALMatters: For “hard-to-count” California, 2020 Census poses huge challenges and carries big stakes
A significant element of the 2020 Census remains unresolved, awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision: Will the Trump administration be allowed to add a question about citizenship? (Groves, 4/26/19)

The Daily Breeze: L.A.-based immigrant group CHIRLA gears up for 2020 Census citizenship question
The Los Angeles-based Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights last week announced a campaign aimed at tallying the hardest-to-count households throughout the state for the 2020 U.S. Census. (4/28/19)

The Los Angeles Times: A Census undercount could cost California billions — and L.A. is famously hard to track
The county, officials say, will be the nation’s hardest to tally because of its high concentrations of renters and homeless people, as well as immigrant communities that may not participate because of language barriers or because they fear reprisal from the federal government. (Parvini, 4/29/19)

The Sacramento Bee: Census offices are being cut across the country — and California is losing 24
The Sacramento region hosted four Census offices the last time the decennial Census was conducted. For the 2020 Census, which will be conducted a little less than a year from now, it will have just one. (Cadei, 5/8/19)

The Orange County Register: Census 2020: The push is on to count every head in California. The stakes are huge.
Beyond funding, Census numbers also allocate political power. Population numbers set the number of seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives, which in turn affects the number of electors in the Electoral College. (Kopetman, 5/15/19)

Los Angeles Daily News: L.A. City Council seeks financial report on door-to-door Census canvassing
Citing insufficient data from past U.S. Census counts in certain communities, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday directed the mayor’s office to draw up funding plans for door-to-door canvassing efforts in chronically undercounted areas. (5/28/19)

U.S. News and World Report: California Boosts Outreach Efforts for 2020 Census
California has the greatest risk of being undercounted, according to the Urban Institute, with projected 2020 undercounts ranging from 0.95 percent to 1.98 percent. (Wozny, 6/10/19)

KCRW: Why the 2020 Census matters to California
The State of California thinks the 2020 Census is so important that it’s willing to spend up to $150 million on its own Census outreach and education efforts, a huge increase over past Census participation spending by Sacramento. (Chiotakis, 6/13/19)

New America: A Complete Count for Census 2020 Still Requires Action
New America CA will be publishing a blog series about what Californians are doing to support the 2020 Census. These posts are designed to be little snippets that can spark inspiration and action, maybe giving you new ideas or talking points to bring home to your community. (Alexander, 7/19/19)

Citizenship Question

Back and Forth/Public Comment Period

The Atlantic: The Unpredictable Political Effects of 2020 Census Tinkering
Critics say the administration is targeting Hispanics ahead of the population tally, but Trump-backing red states could stand to suffer as much as blue ones. (6/25/18)

NPR: Commerce Secretary Grew Impatient Over Census Citizenship Question, Emails Reveal
A few months after he started leading the Commerce Department, Secretary Wilbur Ross became impatient. As a powerful decider for the U.S. Census, he had a keen interest in adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census as soon as possible. (Wang, 7/24/18)

NPR: Multi-State Lawsuit Against Census Citizenship Question To Move Ahead
A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that the largest of the six lawsuits against the new citizenship question on the 2020 Census can move forward in court. (Wang, 7/25/18)

L.A. Watts Times: Civil Rights Advocates Urge Public to Comment on 2020 Census
Civil rights leaders joined Census policy experts July 17 in an urgent plea, particularly to communities of color, for a show of public activism and force to derail a fast-moving Trump administration effort to officially ignore them. (Hedin, 7/26/18)

The New York Times: A Census Question That Could Change How Power Is Divided in America
“Is this person a citizen?” The answer could mean less representation for populous states and big cities. (Badger, 7/31/18)

The Sacramento Bee: Time is running out to speak out against citizenship question on Census
Between now and Aug. 7, the U.S. Census Bureau is accepting public comments on Census 2020. We encourage the public to express dissent on including a citizenship question, which the Trump administration wants to use to further its anti-immigrant agenda. (Clerge and Vithayathil, 7/31/18)

Associated Press: California urges resistance to Census citizenship question
Secretary of State Alex Padilla and advocacy groups for immigrant, Muslim and other communities warn that a citizenship question will discourage immigrants from participating, giving California an under-count in the decennial recording of each state’s population. (Ronayne, 8/1/18)

The Los Angeles Times: Questioning Californians’ citizenship is no way to conduct an accurate Census
The 2020 Census is a high-stakes operation for California and Los Angeles County. The decennial population count will have a significant impact on our pocketbooks and our political clout for years to come. (Solis and Vargas, 8/3/18)

Inside Philanthropy: Census 2020: How Is Philanthropy Responding to the Citizenship Question?
The inclusion of a question about citizenship status on the next Census has funders and advocates even more worried about getting a full and accurate count in 2020. The concerns add to earlier warnings about low funding, access and data security. (Reilly, 8/2/18)

Legal Challenges

NPR: California Legal Challenges To Census Citizenship Question To Continue
The Trump administration has lost another round in its efforts to get courts to dismiss lawsuits challenging the citizenship question it added to the 2020 Census. (Wang, 8/17/18)

NPR: Courts Deliver Trump 5 Setbacks In Census Citizenship Lawsuits
A federal judge in Maryland is allowing a lawsuit over the hotly contested citizenship question on the 2020 Census to proceed, bringing to five the total number of lawsuits judges have greenlit despite the Trump administration’s efforts to get them tossed out of court. (Wang, 8/22/18)

The New York Times: Trump Can’t Win the War on Demography
A proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census reveals the dependency between older white voters and America’s growing young minority population. (Frey, 9/30/18)

NPR: Census Citizenship Question Lawsuits Move Toward Supreme Court Showdown
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has temporarily blocked lower court orders for depositions by two senior Trump administration officials in the multiple lawsuits over the new question about U.S. citizenship status on the 2020 Census. (Wang, 10/9/18)

NPR: Jeff Sessions Told DOJ Not To Discuss Citizenship Question Alternatives
The Trump administration is fending off six lawsuits across the country over a citizenship question that has been added to the 2020 Census for, officials insist, one primary reason — to get better data on who in the country is and isn’t a U.S. citizen. (Wang, 10/27/18)

NPR: How The 2020 Census Citizenship Question Ended Up In Court
The first trial of the citizenship question lawsuits is expected to start Monday in New York City. It’s expected to last two weeks. (Wang, 11/4/18)

CNN: Census Bureau to proceed with nationwide test of citizenship question
The Census Bureau said Friday that it will move forward with plans to test a citizenship question in a nationwide survey this summer, while federal courts weigh the legality of the question. (Wallace, 2/1/19)

CNN: Judge declines to block citizenship question from the 2020 Census on privacy grounds
A federal judge ruled late Friday she is unconvinced of an immediate need to block a citizenship question from the 2020 Census over privacy concerns. (Wallace, 2/9/19)

Wisconsin Public Radio: Supreme Court Takes Up Census Citizenship Question
The Supreme Court will consider the legality of adding a question to the 2020 Census that would ask whether or not the respondent is a United States citizen. We learn why there’s a push to add the question, and what it could mean for the Census. (Larsen, 2/19/19)

CNBC: Federal judge in California bars Trump administration from adding citizenship question to 2020 Census
California argues that the citizenship question could lead to a Census undercount and the loss of billions of dollars in federal funding. (Daniels, 3/6/19)

The Hill: Judge blocks Trump administration from adding citizenship question to 2020 Census
A federal judge ruled against the Trump administration Wednesday, blocking the Commerce Department from adding a question on citizenship to the 2020 U.S. Census. (Bowden Bernal, 03/06/19)

Thomas B. Hofeller Documents

The New York Times: Deceased G.O.P. Strategist’s Hard Drives Reveal New Details on the Census Citizenship Question

Thomas B. Hofeller achieved near-mythic status in the Republican Party as the Michelangelo of gerrymandering, the architect of partisan political maps that cemented the party’s dominance across the country. (Wines, 5/30/19)

The Hill: New evidence throws Census citizenship case into question
New evidence about a Republican strategist’s role in adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is putting increased pressure on the Supreme Court. (Thomsen, 6/2/19)

1A: Stand Up And Be Counted: The 2020 Census
The New York Times called Thomas B. Hofeller “the Michelangelo of gerrymandering.” (Johnson, 6/3/19)

CNN: What’s behind the citizenship question on the 2020 Census
Mounting evidence suggests the push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census began as little more than a political power grab by Republicans. (Murray and Wallace, 6/24/19)

Politico: DOJ urges definitive ruling from SCOTUS on Census citizenship question
The Trump administration made an unusual last-minute plea to the Supreme Court Tuesday, telling the justices that actions by lower courts make it urgent to act quickly to resolve the legality of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. (Gerstein, 6/25/19)

The Hill: Groups ask judge to quickly block Census citizenship question
A coalition of advocacy groups filed a motion late Wednesday asking a federal judge in Maryland to temporarily block a question about citizenship from appearing on the 2020 Census. (Thomsen, 6/26/19)

The Supreme Court / Block of Citizenship Question

Politico: DOJ urges definitive ruling from SCOTUS on Census citizenship question
The Trump administration made an unusual last-minute plea to the Supreme Court Tuesday, telling the justices that actions by lower courts make it urgent to act quickly to resolve the legality of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. (Gerstein, 6/25/19)

The Hill: Groups ask judge to quickly block Census citizenship question
A coalition of advocacy groups filed a motion late Wednesday asking a federal judge in Maryland to temporarily block a question about citizenship from appearing on the 2020 Census. (Thomsen, 6/26/19)

The Sacramento Bee: Supreme Court rejects Trump’s argument for Census citizenship question. What that means for 2020
The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census, finding that the administration’s explanation for the question appeared to be “contrived.” (Cadei, 6/27/19)

POLITICO: Supreme Court deals setback to Trump administration attempt to add Census citizenship question
The Supreme Court on Thursday dealt an unexpected blow to the Trump administration’s move to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, ruling that official explanations for the move were implausible and legally inadequate. (Gerstein and Hesson, 6/27/19)

The New York Times: Supreme Court Leaves Census Question on Citizenship in Doubt
In a setback for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court on Thursday sent back to a lower court a case on whether the Census should contain a citizenship question, leaving in doubt whether the question would be on the 2020 Census. (Liptak, 6/27/29)

The Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Blocks Citizenship Question From 2020 Census for Now
Trump administration official’s explanation for adding the question “seems to have been contrived,” according to the majority opinion. (Kendall and Bravin, 6/27/19)

L.A. Daily News: Ruling on citizenship question brings relief for some, frustration for others — for now
Activists, government officials want complete head count. Others hope the citizenship question will still be on the 2020 Census. (Kopetman, 6/29/19)

The Conversation: Why the Supreme Court asked for an explanation of the 2020 Census citizenship question
Immediately before the Supreme Court’s summer recess each year, it releases decisions in some of its most challenging and significant cases. (Johnson, 6/28/19)

Fight to Add Question Despite Supreme Court Ruling

Mercury News: Trump administration considers delaying 2020 Census
Trump takes aim at California’s healthcare for migrants in Census delay suggestion. (Bouscher, 7/1/19)

New York Times: 2020 Census Won’t Have Citizenship Question as Trump Administration Drops Effort
The Trump administration, in a dramatic about-face, abandoned its quest on Tuesday to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a week after being blocked by the Supreme Court. (Wines, 7/2/19)

The Hill: Trump appears to contradict officials, says Census citizenship question not abandoned
President Trump stirred confusion on Wednesday by saying that reports his administration is halting its effort to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census are “FAKE,” even though multiple departments have said the question is being dropped. (Fabian and Thomson, 7/3/19)

Brookings: The citizenship question is off the Census. Who wins?
Clear winners in this outcome are cities and neighborhoods with large numbers of households that contain foreign-born, noncitizen populations. (Frey, 7/3/19)

The Los Angeles Times: Citizen question may be back on 2020 Census as Trump administration reverses course again
The Trump administration reversed course again on the controversial issue of putting a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, as Justice Department lawyers told a federal court Wednesday that they had been “instructed” to try to find a way to add the question. (Bahrampour, Zapotosky and Dawsey, 7/4/19)

The Guardian: Census 2020: justice department brings in new team to fight for citizenship question
Civil rights groups and some states strongly object to the proposal, which is being championed by Donald Trump. (7/7/19)

The Hill: DOJ pushes back against claims changing legal team would delay Census case
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday pushed back against arguments that changing their legal teams could cause delays in the proceedings for a case in Maryland about adding a citizenship question to the Census. (Thomsen, 7/10/19)

Forbes: Six Poor Trump Justifications For Census Question On Noncitizens
Two weeks ago, when the Supreme Court struck down the Census question on noncitizens, I predicted Trump would come up with justifications to keep the citizenship question on the Census. (Tiefer, 7/10/19)

The Washington Post: Trump retreats on adding citizenship question to 2020 Census

President Trump on Thursday backed down from his controversial push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, effectively conceding defeat in a battle he had revived just last week and promised to continue despite a recent string of legal defeats. (Kim, Bahramour and Wagner, 7/11/19)

The Hill: Judge signs order permanently blocking citizenship question from 2020 Census
On Tuesday a federal judge in New York signed an order permanently blocking the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, days after President Trump gave up on his efforts to get such a question on next year’s Census. (Thomsen, 7/16/19)

Census and Risk

The Atlantic: The 2020 Census Is Already in Big Trouble
From cybersecurity issues to administrative problems to a legal drama over a possible citizenship question, there are plenty of reasons to worry about the decennial head count. (Newkirk, 7/31/18)

CityLab: Cities Are Bracing for 2020 Census Chaos
The Supreme Court may decide the fate of the citizenship question that the Trump administration wants to add to the Census. (Capps, 1/22/19)

NBC News: Latino commission delivers dire prediction on 2020 Census, slams administration
“The Census is at the greatest risk that it has ever been in our lifetime,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund. (Gamboa, 5/22/19)

NBC News: More than 4 million people at risk of not being counted in 2020 Census, new report says
Black and Latino households face the greatest risk of being undercounted, while whites, in some scenarios, could be overcounted, the Urban Institute said. (Clark, 6/3/19)

Michigan Public Radio: 2020 Census Could Lead To Worst Undercount Of Black, Latinx People In 30 Years
Challenges threatening the upcoming 2020 Census could put more than 4 million people at risk of being undercounted in next year’s national head count, according to new projections by the Urban Institute. (Wang, 6/4/19)

U.S. News and World Report: The High Cost of Undercounting
The anticipated undercount of people in poverty, driven by the reluctance of immigrant communities and Hispanic households to complete the Census if the citizenship question is included, is expected to have a devastating impact on federal K–12 funding for school districts that serve the most vulnerable students. (Camera, 6/7/19)

LAist: Citizenship Question Or No Citizenship Question, The 2020 Census Has Some Big Problems
The imminent possibility of having to list whether or not you’re a U.S. citizen alongside other personal information has been a hot-button issue that has rattled many in the immigrant community and beyond. (Amihere, 6/26/19)

Vox: This chart shows how badly the Census could still undercount people of color
Even without the citizenship question, things don’t look great. (Chang, 6/27/19)

New York Times: When It Comes to the Census, the Damage Among Immigrants Is Already Done
Critics have accused the administration of attempting to use the question to discourage immigrant communities from participating in the Census. (Del Real, 6/27/19)

The Mercury News: Census forms with a citizenship question are being mailed to residents, but they’re only a test
Test could spark confusion in wake of Supreme Court ruling, experts say. (Castañeda, 7/16/19)

WAMU: Concerns Linger That Noncitizens Will Not Fill Out 2020 Census
Groups are trying to encourage immigrants to take part in the 2020 Census while dealing with the fallout from the Trump administration’s failed citizenship question push, and immigration enforcement. (Wang, 7/24/19)

CNBC: Experts are worried the census will once again undercount kids younger than 5
Despite years of warnings, census experts worry it’s likely that children younger than 5 will be undercounted again in next year’s survey – and that could mean more difficulty for low-income families reliant on government-backed services. (Dzhanova, 7/26/19)


NPR: Census Bureau Stops Plans For 2020 Census Advisory Committee
The U.S. Census Bureau has stopped plans to form a new committee of advisers for the upcoming 2020 Census, according to a letter obtained by NPR. (7/25/18)

Medical Xpress: Plenary addresses importance of 2020 U.S. Census and challenge of the young child undercount
A plenary during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2019 Meeting in Baltimore will address the impact this significant undercount had, how the Census relates to health care resources and the role pediatricians, clinics, hospitals and communities can play to help make sure all children are counted in the 2020 Census. (4/29/19)

National League of Cities, CitiesSpeak: Census 2020: How to Count Hard-to-Count Communities
The Census is one of the most basic functions of our federal system, requiring a count of every person in the United States every 10 years. (5/3/19)

First 5 LA: Democracy Starts at Home: Why Every Baby Counts in the 2020 Census

When most people think of their first experience with democracy, turning 18 years old and gaining the right to vote usually comes to mind. What many don’t realize, however, is that democracy actually begins long before that benchmark birthday, starting first in the home, and foremost with each person’s participation in the Census.


LAist: LA Explained: The 2020 Census
The federal government is required by law, every 10 years, to count every person in the United States — and that means you. The count, or Census, can have massive impacts on program funding and fair Congressional representation. (Rodriguez, 2/22/19)

CitiesSpeak: What Makes a Resident? Counting Your Community for the 2020 Census
Data produced by the Census is critical to our democratic system and improves our ability to function as one of the world’s largest countries and economies. (6/7/19)

Public Policy Institute: Motivating Californians to Fill Out the 2020 Census
The 2020 Census will determine the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funds and the accuracy of political representation at the local, state and federal levels. (Hayes, 7/24/19)