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Letter: There is such a thing as a bad question

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor
Deseret News

As the U.S. Senate weighs confirmation of Steven Dillingham as the next director of the Census Bureau, a random sample of Utahns has already received the bureau's 28-page survey in preparation for the 2020 Census questionnaire.

Titled "American Community Survey," the document includes a new citizenship question that was added by the Trump administration and has sparked several lawsuits.

Opponents of the citizenship question argue that it will undermine the accuracy of Census 2020 data because noncitizens will refuse to provide any information, fearing that federal police will come after them. Some U.S. citizens may choose to leave the citizenship question blank as a protest against the current crackdown on undocumented residents.

The 2020 Census headcount will affect how $800 billion of federal funds is allocated to the states. It will also determine how many seats each state gets in Congress and how legislative districts are drawn. In a Senate hearing, Dr. Dillingham wouldn't say whether the citizenship question is a good idea. His response may presage a census that's flawed before it has begun.

Stanley Holmes

Salt Lake City