Why Are There No Disability-Related Questions on the 2020 Census?

August 20, 2020
Why Are There No Disability-Related Questions on the 2020 Census?

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If you already filled out your household’s 2020 Census you might have found yourself wondering, wait… where are the disability-related questions? Well, the decennial census does not include any questions about disability. The U.S. Census Bureau only asks you and your household the following questions in the 2020 Census:

  • The number of people living or staying in your home on April 1, 2020.
  • Whether your home is owned with or without mortgage or loan, rented or occupied without rent.
  • A phone number for a person in your home.
  • The name, sex, age, date of birth and race of each person in your home.
  • Whether each person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.

You might be thinking, “If disability data is not collected in the 2020 Census it must not matter to people with disabilities, right?”—WRONG. 2020 Census data DOES matter for people with disabilities. It matters for everyone. The data collected through the 2020 Census will help determine how many Congressional seats states will receive, influence where the boundaries of legislative, school, and voting districts are drawn, and guide the allocation of $1.5 trillion federal funds, all which greatly impacts every community, including the disability community. If everyone in the United States is not counted, some communities will be shortchanged. For more information on the 2020 Census and why it is especially important for people with disabilities to be counted check out: Why the Census Matters for People with Disabilities: A Guide to the 2020 Census Operations & Challenges.

If we want to learn about disability data specifically we need to turn towards other U.S. Census Bureau surveys, including the American Community Survey (ACS), the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and the Current Population Survey (CPS). All three surveys are designed to produce reliable statistics about people with disabilities by asking about difficulties individuals have with seeing, hearing, mobility, self-care, independent living, and cognitive issues such as remembering, concentrating, or making decisions.

Respond to the 2020 Census TODAY

There is still time to be counted in the 2020 Census! The deadline to respond is September 30, 2020. Visit 2020census.gov or call 884-330-2020 and be counted in the 2020 Census today. Find additional resources about the census and disability community on NDRN’s website and on The Arc’s website including An Accessible 2020 Census: FAQs by the Disability Community about Census Operations and a Census Group Home Fact Sheet.

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A/CAP Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

The Arc advocates for and serves people wit­­h intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.