Two census workers, Tim Metzger, left, and Dennis Kashatok, travel in  Alaska, by snowmobile. (Joshua Corbett/The New York Times)

Survey: Most Americans believe census will ask about citizenship

Most Americans mistakenly believe the 2020 census will ask whether they are citizens, though the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from including that question in the decennial count, according to a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

A majority of those surveyed – 56% — believe the question is on the census; 25% are unsure; and only 17% said a citizenship question is not on the census.

Those findings come as Atlanta-area leaders are scrambling to clear up misunderstandings about the constitutionally mandated census and encourage participation.

The Trump administration argued introducing the citizenship question would help it better track demographics and enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Critics said including it could deter many unauthorized immigrants from participating, though the U.S. Census Bureau says it does not share participants’ legal status with federal immigration authorities.

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Invitations to respond to the 2020 Census online by phone or mail will go out between March 12-20. There is a lot at stake for metro Atlanta: the census helps determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, how state legislative districts are drawn and where the government should distribute hundreds of billions in federal funds each year.

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For the results, Pew — a nonpartisan research center — surveyed 3,535 U.S. adults online in English and Spanish in January. The survey participants are members of an online survey panel recruited through random sampling of residential addresses and phone numbers.

Other findings:

• Nearly eight in ten said they definitely or probably will submit a census form.

• Younger people are less likely to participate than older people.

• Blacks and Hispanics are less likely to fill out census forms than whites.

• More than a quarter of those surveyed mistakenly believe the census will ask about their religion, while 47% are unsure.

• Only about one in five know they can fill out the census online this year.

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