Census won't collect data on sexual orientation, identity in 2020

Posted March 30, 2017

A U.S. Census with questions on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people would also confirm how many LGBTQ Americans now live in the country, giving both federal and local governments an accurate picture of LGBTQ life in the United States. "This topic is not being proposed to Congress for the 2020 Census or American Community Survey". Many federal agencies, including the Census Bureau, have been collecting and/or planning to collect similar data.

The inclusion of LGBT categories in the Planned Subjects for the 2020 Census Report unveiled on Tuesday must have been music to the ears of LGBT advocates seeking to include sexual orientation and gender identity in federal surveys.

A few hours later, though, the bureau released a statement, saying they had been added by mistake.

With a new sheriff in town-the Trump administration-the U.S. Census Bureau has backed away from plans to collect data about Americans' sexual orientation and gender identity.

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The statement came a day after the agency sent Congress its proposals for the subjects to ask Americans about categorizing themselves in the 2020 Census and an annual survey.

The LGBTQ community now is sorely underserved by government departments, Solomon said.

Meghan Maury, criminal and economic justice project director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, said: "Information from these surveys helps the government to enforce federal laws like the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act and to determine how to allocate resources like housing supports and food stamps", Maury said. The National LGBTQ Task Force had captured a screenshot of the original questionnaire and compared it to the updated one.

About three years from now, the US government is going to start asking some personal questions.

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The National LGBT Task Force shared similar sentiments to Garden State Equality regarding the decision to exclude questions related to gender identity or sexual orientation.

In a blog post, Census Director John H. Thompson said 75 members of Congress had requested in April 2016 that "sexual orientation and gender identity" be a subject, but "our review" found no need for the change.

The Census has never included these questions before, and experts on the process warn that the details of inserting new categories and topics into the official survey can take years to iron out and implement.

U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Thomas Russell holds a census form while working his route in 2010.

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At the Republican National Convention in July, Trump said that as president he would "do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens", but S olomon says the president's " supposed loyalty to the gays was a dramatic statement, b u t I don't think that it's been borne out in anything that he's done". "Furthermore, for the first time ever, the decennial will offer an online response option with the ultimate goal of improving question design and data quality while addressing community concerns".