Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a count — the census — of all the people living in the country. The U.S. Constitution requires the government to count every adult and child, citizens and noncitizens. The census count not only determines how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives but also affects how and where federal, state, and local governments allocate funds for education, social services, infrastructure, and more.
Despite its vital importance, the 2020 Census faced a myriad of risks. These risks included efforts to add a citizenship question to the census, insufficient funding for the Census Bureau’s basic operations, delayed and inadequate preparation for 2020, and potential politicization of the count.
The Brennan Center and others mobilized to address these risks through legal action in the federal courts, action that resulted in a victory over efforts to add an untested citizenship question. In addition to participating in many of these cases, we have tracked major developments in the key cases to keep the public informed.