Trump citizenship question could cost Ohio congressional seats, federal funding after 2020 US Census

A citizenship question could appear on the census, which could result in an under count.
Published: Apr. 23, 2019 at 8:29 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It looks like a citizenship question could be appearing on the 2020 U.S. Census after a legal battle made its way to the Supreme Court.

Conservative justices seem to be siding with President Trump, according to several reports, but we’re still waiting on an official ruling.

Under the Constitution, every person in the country must be counted each decade.

Here in Ohio, if there’s an under count of the population we could be at risk of losing not just one but two Congressional seats.

That means Ohio could lose some of its influence and federal funding.

If a citizenship question is on the 2020 U.S. Census, one government estimate says six and a half million people may avoid answering it altogether.

That’s why opponents argue it will lead to a huge under count of non-citizens.

But the government argues the question will help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

“I don’t think most people really think about the census day to day, it comes up once every 10 years. It’s sort of something you have to check off and do,” said Kate Warren, a research associate with the Center for Community Solutions, a nonpartisan think tank based in Cleveland.

They oppose adding the citizenship question to the census.

“I think a lot of people are skeptical of the government and why they're asking this question, and what they're going to do with the data when they have it,” Warren said.

U.S. Census officials say no personal information would be shared with ICE or even the president.

Employees take an oath of non-disclosure and would be breaking the law.

Find out how the U.S. Census Bureau says they protect your private information here.

If Ohio’s population is under counted, Warren says there could be major consequences.

“Ohio is likely to lose a congressional seat after the 2020 census, but we could possibly lose two congressional seats if Ohio is under counted in the census,” she said.

The last census in 2010 counted 11.5 million people here in Ohio.

Our state has 16 congressional seats, and already lost two after the census a decade ago.

Billions of dollars in federal funding is also at risk.

“About $33.5 billion flows through the state through big medical programs, like Medicaid, school funding, head start, foster care,” Warren said.

“So it's important to know how many people are in our state so that we can have the funding to adequately support those people,” she said.

Census surveys will not be rejected if you don't answer the citizenship question.

Your response to the census is required by law.

Census workers will come to your residence in person if you don’t respond to the survey.

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