The San Antoinio City Council has gone on record opposing the inclusion of a question asking about a person's citizenship status on the general 2020 Census form, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Council members said there is already a concern about people not filling out the form, which would mean federal taxes paid by San Antonians would go to some other community, and the city would miss out on funding for key programs, as well as representation in Congress and in the state legislature.
“Now more than ever, it’s critical that San Antonio achieve an accurate population count and secure adequate federal resources for our growing needs," northwest side Councilwoman Ana Sandoval said.
Figures presented by city staffers indicated that one in four San Antonians is already suspicious of filling out the Census form, worried that the government is being too nosy or is asking for information it doesn't need.
More than half of San Antonio neighborhoods came in below average in Census participation in 2010, already resulting in an undercount.
Sandoval is worried that individuals who themselves or have relatives who have citizenship issues may simply ignore the form, and, because the Census Bureau is no longer mounting an aggressive campaign to knock on doors to encourage people to fill out the form, that will result in a massive undercount.
“There is reason to be concerned with the lack of testing the question has gone through," Sandoval said. "Generally, census questions are repeatedly tested to ensure they don’t confuse respondents, result in inaccuracies, or deter participation. Without appropriate testing, including this question risks deterring participation and undercounting. Getting the question right is key to accurate data collection.”
While the citizenship was in fact asked on the Census 'long form,' now called the 'Community Survey' in 2010, it has not been included on the form that every resident is asked to fill out, the so called 'short form' since 1950.
San Antonio's resolution includes no action to oppose the inclusion of the question, it simply adds San Antonio to the growing list of cities who are on record as opposing it being on the short form.