The Census Bureau recently announced that it would not be making changes to the 2020 U.S. census recommended by former President Barack Obama’s administration.
Specifically, the 2018 End-to-End Census Test and 2020 census will continue to use two separate questions for collecting data on race and ethnicity, a move Heritage has advocated for.
“The Census Bureau will not use a combined question format for collecting race and ethnicity; or a separate ‘Middle Eastern or North African’ category on the census form,” the announcement noted.
Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow in Heritage’s Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, wrote in 2016 that these Obama administration proposals would affect the country adversely in at least three ways.
“Adding one more ethnic group would further divide America along ethnic lines,” wrote Gonzalez in a report titled “Congress Should Tell the OMB to Stop Dividing the Country.” The OMB is the federal Office of Management and Budget.
Gonzalez also wrote that “creating a Hispanic ‘race’ would deepen these fractures,” and that “dangling further economic benefits, including affirmative action and new congressional districts, would help perpetuate divisions within the country, because it gives people an incentive to identify themselves with minority groups.”
Leading up to the Census Bureau decision, Gonzalez wrote numerous articles advocating that the proposals be rejected, in media outlets such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and National Review.
“Gonzalez’s research played a significant role in the Trump administration’s decision to keep the two-question model in the Census Bureau,” says James Carafano, vice president of Heritage’s Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy and the E. W. Richardson fellow. “We are continuously seeing policy decisions made that directly reflect work of The Heritage Foundation, and this is just another example.”
Gonzalez says that while the decision is welcome, there is more the Trump administration can do to “rid the country of the identitarian fever currently sweeping into all corners of society.”