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As a founding member of the Unity Diaspora Coalition convened by the National Coalition for Black Civic Partiicpation,  ICS as coordinator of National Caribbean American Complete Count Committee has promoted the inclusion of Caribbean-Americans and African immigrants in the Census, since 2008.  Over the course of the last two years, ICS has also participated in the Black Leaders Rountable convened by the National Urban League with a view to ensuring a complete Black count and to develop awareness of the multi-cultural nature of the Black Community. 

ICS led the formation of the Caribbean American Complete Count Committee for Census 2010 and co-sponsored events in New York, Atlanta and South Florida.   ICS continues to serve as a point of contact for the delivery of results of the 2020 Census to the Caribbean American Community.

Events are contemplated for National Caribbean American Heritage Month in JUNE. 

               Image result for frequently asked questions


What is the decennial census?

  • The decennial census is the short survey the Census Bureau sends to every household in the country every ten years.  It is required by the Constitution to count every living person in the United States, regardless of citizenship status.
  • The population count as determined by the decennial census is used to apportion representation in Congress, to allocate votes in the Electoral College, and to divide more than $900 billion in federal funds annually.  It is also used for purposes of equalizing population in congressional, state and local legislative districts.
  • The decennial census questionnaires will not be sent to any households until January 2020 and for most households not until March 2020.

Will there be a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census?

  • No. The Supreme Court held that the Trump Administration’s reasoning for wanting to add a citizenship question was a pretext and not acceptable. 
  • The President has since issued an Executive Order indicating that there will be no citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census.
  • The administration has also been permanently enjoined from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 decennial census, from delaying the process of printing the 2020 decennial census questionnaire for the purpose of adding a citizenship question and from otherwise asking about citizenship as a part of the 2020 decennial.

Is the administration still planning on collecting data on citizenship?

  • Yes. The President’s executive order requires all federal agencies to share citizenship data with the Census Bureau to the maximum extent possible allowed by law. This is what the Census Bureau had already recommended to Commerce Secretary Ross as the best method to compile citizenship data.
  • The administration will use the citizenship data compiled through administrative records to create Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) tables, which some state officials have expressed interest in using in redistricting.

I received a survey from the U.S. Census Bureau that asks about citizenship. But I thought that this question won’t be on the 2020 decennial census?

  • While a citizenship question won’t be on the 2020 decennial census, the Census Bureau does have other surveys that do have a citizenship question on it. These surveys are sent to a small number of households: 
    • The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing annual survey of approximately 50 questions sent out to a sample of approximately 3.5 million U.S. households every year.
      • The ACS has always had a citizenship question on it; it is the primary source of citizenship statistics that governments, policymakers, and advocates use. 
      • Because the ACS is a sample survey, it can be statistically adjusted for non-responses (unlike the decennial census).  The presence of a citizenship question on the ACS does not therefore carry the same concerns as it does on the census.
      • More info on the ACS is available here:

Do I need to answer the American Community Survey and/or the citizenship question on it?

  • Responding accurately to the American Community Survey is required by law.

Is census data private?

  • The Census Bureau is subject to some of the strongest privacy protections in federal law. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code private information collected through any survey conducted by the census can never be published. It is against the law for the Census Bureau to disclose or publish any private information that identifies an individual or their address. Personal information collected through the census also cannot be used by any government agency or court.
  • Census Bureau employees are sworn to protect confidentiality and are legally required to maintain the confidentiality of census data. Every person with access to individual census data is sworn for life to protect that information. Anyone who violates this law faces severe penalties, including a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
  • The President’s Executive Order states that “Information subject to confidentiality protections under Title 13 may not, and shall not, be used to bring immigration enforcement actions against particular individuals. Under my Administration, the data confidentiality protections in Title 13 shall be fully respected.”
  • The civil rights community, including the ACLU, will be monitoring the actions of the administration very closely and should any privacy violation occur following the 2020 decennial census the civil rights community is prepared to take the Trump Administration to court.
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Advancing the Interests of Caribbean Americans

Institute of Caribbean Studies  (ICS)Washington DC
1629 K Street NW, Ste 300
Washington DC 20001
Phone: 202.638.0460