2020 CensusCVIICResearchStaff

San Joaquin Valley Latino Immigrants and the 2020 Census

San Joaquin Valley Latino Immigrants and the 2020 Census Report

San Joaquin Valley Latino Immigrants and the 2020 Census: New Report by SJVHF

The Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC) has participated in a regional report that analyzes the relationship between San Joaquin Valley Latino immigrants and the 2020 Census. The report, San Joaquin Valley Latino Immigrants: Implications of Survey Findings for
Census 2020, sheds much needed light on how Latino immigrants in this region of California and their broader social networks are perceiving the 2020 Census and specific elements, such as the possible inclusion of a citizenship question.

The report was released on January 18, 2019 and is part of a broader project, the San Joaquin Valley Census Research Project (SJVCRP), focused on immigrants in California’s Central Valley. A total of six reports will be issued, sharing information on data gathered from hundreds of individual interviews and multiple focus groups. It is made possible by the support of the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund (SJVHF) and the research is coordinated by the California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS). CVIIC led field research efforts.

The report authors are Edward Kissam, Richard Mines, Cindy Quezada, Jo Ann Intili and Gail Wadsworth.

More information on the SJVHF and the San Joaquin Valley Census Research Project can be found here: https://www.shfcenter.org/sjvhealthfund

Key findings of the Latino immigrants report include the following:

Adding the citizenship question dramatically decreases willingness to participate in Census 2020.

Most survey respondents (84%) were willing to respond to a “simple” census without the citizenship question, but if the citizenship question were added, only 46% said they would be willing to participate.

The Census Bureau’s Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Study research shows that actual response in Census 2010 was 10% lower than a sample of survey respondents had indicated when asked in 2008 if they were planning to respond. This implies a San Joaquin Valley census self-response rate no higher than 40%. This is much lower than the 52.3% observed in the 2018 end-to-end test and the Census Bureau’s expectation of an overall 60% self-response rate in 2020.

Willingness to respond to a census with the citizenship question varies greatly by legal and citizenship status.

As might be expected, adding the citizenship question had the greatest impact on undocumented immigrants’ willingness to respond. Only 25% said they would participate in a census with the citizenship question.

Although they have status, legal residents’ willingness to respond would also be dramatically reduced from an enthusiastic 85% willingness to participate in a simple census (as it was in 2010) down to 63%. Naturalized citizens, having initially expressed enthusiasm about census participation, were also pushed toward not responding by the citizenship question—down from 89% willingness to 70%.

In contrast to the widespread expectation that adding a citizenship question would only affect the response rate among non-citizens, the second-generation Latino immigrants, grown U.S.-born citizen children of foreign born parents, initially very enthusiastic about census participation also were strongly pushed toward nonresponse. Their willingness to respond decreased from 89% to 49%.

Survey respondents’ comments show that practical concerns about the confidentiality of household information provided to the Census Bureau being shared and used to adversely impact households was widespread. However, just as important as practical worries about misuse of census data, there was widespread anger and disapproval about the government having added the question. Many of the second-generation U.S.-born Latino citizen survey respondents considered the citizenship question to be divisive and racist.

Few of the survey respondents saw the prospect of answering a census with the citizenship question as an isolated one. Instead, they saw the question as another piece in a panorama of anti-immigrant rhetoric, policy decisions and immigration enforcement actions by the federal government. Many who were aware of the census as the process of counting the U.S. population questioned the rationale for an intrusive personal question about
citizenship status.

The full report, San Joaquin Valley Latino Immigrants: Implications of Survey Findings for Census 2020, can be read and downloaded from here:

 

San Joaquin Valley Latino Immigrants: Implications of Survey Findings for Census 2020

 

The Executive Summary can be read and downloaded from here:

 

San Joaquin Valley Latino Immigrants: Implications of Survey Findings for Census 2020 Executive Summary

 

More census related documents can be found here: https://cviic.org/census-documents/