Editorial: Everyone counts in census | TribLIVE.com

Editorial: Everyone counts in census


Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, 17 other attorneys general, six mayors including Pittsburgh’s Bill Peduto and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have won a federal court battle.

They argued against a Trump administration directive to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The decision? The census means counting everybody, and asking about citizenship information would keep people from participating. The judge said it was “unlawful for a multitude of independent reasons and … must be set aside.”

Maybe you think that is great for hippy-dippy, liberal, bleeding heart reasons. Maybe you’re right.

Maybe as a conservative you think there’s no reason to not know if the people who are being counted could (or should) vote or not, like the U.S. Department of Justice. Maybe you’re not wrong about that on a national level.

But on a Pennsylvanian level, there’s a very good reason to keep the question off the form. Math.

The 18 attorneys general argued that citizenship questions in the census could lead to fewer people participating in the census, a constitutionally mandated every-10-years count of “the whole number of persons in each state.” Not voters. Not citizens. Not Democrats or Republicans or Steelers fans. Just all of the people.

In a census set to happen at the end of Trump’s first term, the attorneys general and mayors believe asking about citizenship could make immigrant populations reluctant to participate, leading to fewer people being counted and skewed numbers.

That’s not good for Pennsylvania. The state has already lost a U.S. representative here and there in recent years because the commonwealth’s population is not growing at the same rate as other states. It’s projected to lose another of the 18-member congressional delegation in 2020.

According to the American Immigration Council, in 2015, there were 837,159 foreign-born individuals living in Pennsylvania, about half of whom were naturalized citizens. In 2016, another 911,353 U.S.-born individuals had at least one immigrant parent. Together that’s more than 1.7 million people, or 14 percent of the population. In Pittsburgh, census data shows 8.6 percent of the population is foreign-born.

Now imagine they don’t get counted in the census.

That 1.7 million people is about two and a half Congressmen. That translates to electoral votes. It translates to money that comes into Pennsylvania for 132 federal programs that are apportioned through the census.

It comes down to Pennsylvania getting its due, whether in funding or representation or voice in the presidential election. No matter where these people come from, they live here, and making them less likely to be counted hurts us all.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.