Has a Citizenship Question Always Appeared on the US Census?

Column 13 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Column 14 – is person naturalized with responses of Yes, No and AP if born abroad of American parents.

The answer might surprise you! Here’s a Short History of Collecting Citizenship and Immigration Information via the US Census

Recently there has been fierce debate about adding a citizenship question to the upcoming 2020 Census here in the United States. Recently, a federal judge blocked the Census Bureau from asking about citizenship status on the 2020 Census[i]. Many of the comments on social media emphatically state that there has always been such a question on the census taken every 10 years. Others state that this is not true and that such information collected will be used to hunt down and deport immigrants, even those here legally.

Good genealogy is based on proof and facts, right? So let’s review the history of citizenship-related questions going back to the first US Census in 1790. As well, we’ll look at the overall history of the census and how it has grown beyond its mandate in the US Constitution as simply a “headcount[ii] to help determine how congressional representation is apportioned among the states.

The Growth of the US Decennial Census

What began in 1790 as simply a headcount of residents has morphed into a complicated process of gathering additional information. Key changes in the US Census have been[iii]:

1810: Attempted to also collect information manufacturing and industry.

1840: Census returned to a population count only, with no effort to track business-related data.

1850: All members of a household are listed by name with the head of household listed first. In addition slaves are enumerated on a separate schedule. Additional “social statistics” including data on education and mortality begin to be collected during the enumeration process.

1870: Former slaves are enumerated and listed by full name.

1880: Separate schedule for “Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes.”

1890: Special schedule of US Civil War veterans and widows of veterans. Forms oriented questions by row and not columns. Much of the census population schedules were lost to fire in January 1921.

1910: Supplemental schedules no longer enumerated.

1940: Special “sampling” questions included at the bottom of enumeration schedule; two residents per page selected at random.

1950: The last time a citizenship explicit question is asked of all residents.

1960: Self-enumeration begins with first mail-out census to be collected by enumerators. A 25 percent sampling of households received a more detailed enumeration form.

1970: Enumeration forms for some urban and suburban areas mailed in by respondents. A 5 percent sampling of households received a more detailed enumeration form.

1980: Enumeration by mail covers 95 percent of the population. Introduction of a “short form” (Short Form) with 18 questions used by all residents and a “long form” (Long Form) with 36 additional questions used by a 5 percent sampling of population.

1990: Use of Short Form continues with 20 percent sampling of population via a Long Form.

2005: American Community Survey begins with population sampling each year. Eliminates need for separate Short Form and Long Form during decennial census.

Facts about Citizenship and the US Census

The following facts have been documented in terms of questions related to citizenship and national origin:

1820: The first citizenship related information collected using column with heading “The number of foreigners not naturalized.”[iv]

1830: Citizenship related information collected using column with heading “The number of White persons who were foreigners not naturalized.”[v]

1850: Column 9 – collected place of birth information, but only for “free inhabitants.” The state or territory of birth was entered for those born in the United States; the name of the country was entered for those of foreign birth.[vi]

1850: Column 9 – collected place of birth information, but only for “free inhabitants.” The state or territory of birth was entered for those born in the United States; the name of the country was entered for those of foreign birth.

1860: Column 10 – similar place of birth question as the 1850 Census, except the field was completed by enumerator listing the state, territory or country of birth.[vii]

1860: Column 10 – similar place of birth question as the 1850 Census, except the field was completed by enumerator listing the state, territory or country of birth.

1870: Column 10 – similar place of birth question as the 1860 census. Columns 11 and 12 – asked if father and mother were of foreign birth, respectively.

Column 10 – similar place of birth question as the 1860 census. Columns 11 and 12 – asked if father and mother were of foreign birth, respectively.

Column 19 – asked if the person was a male citizen of the United States age 21 years or more.[viii]

1870: Column 10 – similar place of birth question as the 1860 census. Columns 11 and 12 – asked if father and mother were of foreign birth, respectively.

1880: Column 24 – similar place of birth question as the 1870 census. Columns 25 and 26 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively.[ix]

1880: Column 24 – similar place of birth question as the 1870 census. Columns 25 and 26 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively.

1890: Row 10 – place of birth. Rows 11 and 12 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively. Row 13 – the number of years the person has been in the United States. Row 14 – if the person was naturalized. Row 15 – asked whether naturalization papers had been taken out.[x]

ow 10 – place of birth. Rows 11 and 12 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively. Row 13 – the number of years the person has been in the United States. Row 14 – if the person was naturalized. Row 15 – asked whether naturalization papers had been taken out.

1900: Column 13 – place of birth. Columns 14 and 15 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively. Citizenship questions in Columns 16 through 18 – year of immigration to the United States, number of years in the United States, and is the person naturalized, respectively. [xi]

1900: Column 13 – place of birth. Columns 14 and 15 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively. Citizenship questions in Columns 16 through 18 – year of immigration to the United States, number of years in the United States, and is the person naturalized, respectively.

1910: Column 12 – place of birth. Columns 13 and 14 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively. Citizenship questions in Columns 15 through 16 – year of immigration to the United States and whether naturalized or alien. Column 17 – asked if person could speak English and if not, the language spoken. [xii]

Column 12 – place of birth. Columns 13 and 14 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively. Citizenship questions in Columns 15 through 16 – year of immigration to the United States and whether naturalized or alien. Column 17 – asked if person could speak English and if not, the language spoken.

1920: Citizenship questions grouped in Columns 13 through 15. Column 13 – year of immigration to the United States. Columns 14 – naturalized or alien. Column 15 – if naturalized, year of naturalization.

Citizenship questions grouped in Columns 13 through 15. Column 13 – year of immigration to the United States. Columns 14 – naturalized or alien. Column 15 – if naturalized, year of naturalization.

Nativity and Mother Tongue questions in Columns 19 through 25. Column 19 – place of birth. Column 20 – mother tongue. Columns 21 and 22 – father’s place of birth and mother tongue. Columns 23 and 24 – mother’s place of birth and mother tongue. Column 25 – whether able to speak English.[xiii]

Nativity and Mother Tongue questions in Columns 19 through 25. Column 19 – place of birth. Column 20 – mother tongue. Columns 21 and 22 – father’s place of birth and mother tongue. Columns 23 and 24 – mother’s place of birth and mother tongue. Column 25 – whether able to speak English.

1930: Place of Birth section comprised Columns 18 through 20. Column 18 – place of birth. Columns 19 and 20 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively. Mother Tongue and Language section comprised Columns 21 and 21a through 21c. Column 21 – language spoken in home prior to arrival in the United States.[xiv]

Place of Birth section comprised Columns 18 through 20. Column 18 – place of birth. Columns 19 and 20 – place of birth for father and mother, respectively. Mother Tongue and Language section comprised Columns 21 and 21a through 21c. Column 21 – language spoken in home prior to arrival in the United States

1940: Place of Birth and Citizenship section comprised Columns 15 and 16. Column 15 – place of birth. Column 16 – if person is foreign born, are they a citizen?

Place of Birth and Citizenship section comprised Columns 15 and 16. Column 15 – place of birth. Column 16 – if person is foreign born, are they a citizen?

Supplementary Questions: Place of Birth of Father and Mother section comprised Columns 36 and 37. Column 36 – place of birth of father. Column 37 – place of birth of mother. Mother Tongue and Language section comprised Column 38. Column 38 – language spoken in home in earliest childhood.[xv]

Supplementary Questions: Place of Birth of Father and Mother section comprised Columns 36 and 37. Column 36 – place of birth of father. Column 37 – place of birth of mother. Mother Tongue and Language section comprised Column 38. Column 38 – language spoken in home in earliest childhood.

1950: Column 13 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Column 14 – is person naturalized with responses of Yes, No and AP if born abroad of American parents.

Column 13 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Column 14 – is person naturalized with responses of Yes, No and AP if born abroad of American parents.

Supplemental Questions were asked of a 5% sample of the population on a separate form. Question 24 – what state or foreign country was person living in a year ago. Question 25 – in what country were the person’s mother and father born.[xvi]

1960: Question P8 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question P9 – language spoken at home before arriving in the United States. Questions P10 and P11 – in what country was the person’s mother and father born, respectively.[xvii]

1960: Question P8 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question P9 – language spoken at home before arriving in the United States. Questions P10 and P11 – in what country was the person's mother and father born, respectively.

1970: No citizenship or nativity questions were asked on the Short Form completed by all residents. On the Long Form, Question 13a – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question 13b – person’s origin or descent. Questions 14 and 15 – in what country was the person’s mother and father born, respectively.

No citizenship or nativity questions were asked on the Short Form completed by all residents. On the Long Form, Question 13a – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question 13b – person’s origin or descent. Questions 14 and 15 – in what country was the person's mother and father born, respectively.

Question 16a – is person naturalized with responses of Yes, No and born abroad of American parents. Question 16b – when did person arrive in the United States to stay. Question 17 – language spoken at home before arriving in the United States.[xviii]

1980: No nativity or citizenship questions asked on the Short Form completed by all residents, but race and descent questions were included. Question 4 – race. Question 7 – asked if person was of “Spanish/Hispanic origin or descent.”

No nativity or citizenship questions asked on the Short Form completed by all residents, but race and descent questions were included. Question 4 – race. Question 7 – asked if person was of “Spanish/Hispanic origin or descent.”

On the Long Form, Question 11 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question 12a – is person naturalized with responses of Yes, No and born abroad of American parents. Question 12b – when did person arrive in the United States to stay. Question 13a – does person speak a language other than English at home and Question 13b – list language if answer to Question 13a is “Yes.” Question 13c – how well does person speak English. Question 14 – person’s ancestry.[xix]

On the Long Form, Question 11 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question 12a – is person naturalized with responses of Yes, No and born abroad of American parents. Question 12b – when did person arrive in the United States to stay. Question 13a – does person speak a language other than English at home and Question 13b – list language if answer to Question 13a is “Yes.” Question 13c – how well does person speak English. Question 14 – person’s ancestry.

1990: No nativity or citizenship questions asked on the Short Form completed by all residents. Question 4 – race. Question 7 – asked if person was of “Spanish/Hispanic origin or descent.”

No nativity or citizenship questions asked on the Short Form completed by all residents. Question 4 – race. Question 7 – asked if person was of “Spanish/Hispanic origin or descent.”

On the Long Form, Question 8 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question 9 – is person a citizen of the United States. Question 10 – when  did person arrive in the United States to stay. Question 13 – person’s ancestry or ethnic origin. Question 15a – does person speak a language other than English at home and Question 15b – list language if answer to Question 15a is “Yes.” Question 15c – how well does person speak English.[xx]

On the Long Form, Question 8 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question 9 – is person a citizen of the United States. Question 10 – when  did person arrive in the United States to stay. Question 13 – person’s ancestry or ethnic origin. Question 15a – does person speak a language other than English at home and Question 15b – list language if answer to Question 15a is “Yes.” Question 15c – how well does person speak English.

2000: No nativity or citizenship questions asked on the Short Form completed by all residents. Question 7 – is person “Spanish/Hispanic/Latino.” Question 8 – person’s race. Note: for the first time, respondents could select more than one choice in order to define race.[xxi]

2000: No nativity or citizenship questions asked on the Short Form completed by all residents. Question 7 – is person “Spanish/Hispanic/Latino.” Question 8 – person’s race. Note: for the first time, respondents could select more than one choice in order to define race.

On the Long Form, Questions 5 and 6 were the same as Questions 7 and 8 on the Short Form. Additional questions: Question 10 – ancestry or ethnic origin.

On the Long Form, Questions 5 and 6 were the same as Questions 7 and 8 on the Short Form. Additional questions: Question 10 – ancestry or ethnic origin.

Question 11a – does person speak a language other than English at home and Question 11b – list language if answer to Question 11a is “Yes.” Question 11c – how well does person speak English. Question 12 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question 13 – is person a citizen of the United States. Question 14 – when did person come to live in the United States.[xxii]

Question 11a – does person speak a language other than English at home and Question 11b – list language if answer to Question 11a is “Yes.” Question 11c – how well does person speak English. Question 12 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born. Question 13 – is person a citizen of the United States. Question 14 – when did person come to live in the United States.

2010: No nativity or citizenship questions asked on the Short Form completed by all residents Question 8 – is person “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” Question 9 – person’s race.[xxiii]

American Community Survey

Starting with the 2010 Census, a “long form” completed by a sample percentage of the population was no longer used. Instead, the Census Bureau in 2005 began using a monthly “American Community Survey.” The survey served as an ongoing intercensal activity which was used to determine how some federal and state funds were to be distributed across the population. The American Community Survey was sent to about 300,000 households each month for a total of 3.6 million per year.[xxiv]

Citizenship, Race and Language Questions

An archive of all yearly American Community Survey questionnaires for years 1996 through 2018 is available at the US Census Bureau site.[xxv] Using the 2018 American Community Survey as an example, the following questions were asked:[xxvi]

Question 5 – is person “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.” Question 6 – person’s race.

Question 5 – is person “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.” Question 6 – person’s race.

Question 7 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born.  Question 8 – citizenship including year of naturalization if applicable. Question 9 – when did person come to live in the United States.

Question 7 – place of birth with state if born in the United States and country if foreign born.  Question 8 – citizenship including year of naturalization if applicable. Question 9 – when did person come to live in the United States.

Question 14a – does person speak a language other than English at home and Question 14b – list language if answer to Question 14a is “Yes.” Question 14c – how well does this person speak English.

Conclusion

Most genealogists are grateful that these questions covering race, nativity, ancestry, citizenship and language proficiency were asked in past censuses. For some, the answers help supplement other areas of research on an ancestor. For others, there have been “surprises” that contradict family stories or previous research and require a closer look and further research.

So, has there always been a citizenship question on the US Census? Short answer: no. When was the first citizenship question asked on a US Census? Technically the 1870 census when a Yes/No answer was entered. Was 1950 the last time there was a citizenship question on the US Census? Answer: sort of. The 1950 Census was the last time an explicit citizenship question was required of the entire population. But, with the census expanding its use of sample populations, a longer form of questions often included an explicit citizenship question right up to the present day.

The US Census has always been politicized since its inception. There have been many laws (and lawsuits) related to how the census was taken and how the data was used. I don’t expect this to abate any time soon. In reviewing the first citizenship-related information gathered (a headcount of foreign born in the 1820 Census) and continuing through the American Community Survey, researchers have noted that questions of race, nativity and language proficiency could have been and have been used to make assumptions as to who is a citizen and who is not. The US government used census information to identify Japanese-American citizens of both native and foreign birth for purposes of internment during the course of World War II.[xxvii]

The information gathered – even though the process has wandered greatly from the original intent of the Constitutional mandate – is valuable. Not just to genealogists, but to various researchers and policy makers. The data itself is innocent; the intent of the user, especially government officials, is what should be monitored and perhaps regulated through confidentiality procedures and challenged via lawsuits.

Starting in the mid-20th century, the concept of privacy for many Americans began to change. Add to that an increase in questioning the motives of “government” in asking certain questions and you have a formula in which any question related to citizenship will come under close scrutiny from various parties.

Resource List and Further Reading

©2019, copyright Thomas MacEntee.  All rights reserved.

[i] Judge bars citizenship question from 2020 census, 15 January 2019, APNews.com (https://www.apnews.com/ accessed 17 January 2019)

[ii] “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to that whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not Taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct…” United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 2, 17 September 1787, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/ accessed 17 January 2019).

[iii] History – Overview, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/overview/ accessed 23 January 2019)

[iv] Index of Questions, 1820 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1820_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[v] Index of Questions, 1830 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1830_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[vi] Index of Questions, 1850 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1850_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[vii] Index of Questions, 1860 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1860_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[viii] Index of Questions, 1870 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1870_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[ix] Index of Questions, 1880 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1880_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[x] Index of Questions, 1890 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1890_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[xi] Index of Questions, 1900 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1900_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[xii] Index of Questions, 1910 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1910_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[xiii] Index of Questions, 1920 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1920_1.html accessed 23 January 2019).

[xiv] Index of Questions, 1930 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1930_1.html accessed 23 January 2019). Columns 21a through 21c were reserved for Census Bureau coding based on responses in Columns 18 through 21.

[xv] Index of Questions, 1940 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1940_1.html accessed 23 January 2019). Place of birth for foreign born recorded for country as of January 1, 1937. Column 15C reserved for Census Bureau coding based on response in Column 15. Supplementary Questions were only asked of two persons at random per population schedule sheet. Column 36/37G reserved for Census Bureau coding based on response in Column 36 and/or 37; interestingly, there is no allowance for difference countries for birth place of father and mother.

[xvi] Index of Questions, 1950 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1950_1.html accessed 23 January 2019). Code 13B reserved for Census Bureau coding based on response in Column 13; Alaska listed as 1 and Hawaii as 2.

[xvii] Index of Questions, 1960 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1960_1.html accessed 23 January 2019). Question P8 noted “if born in hospital, give residence of mother, not location of hospital; also asked to “use international boundaries as now recognized by the U.S.”

[xviii] Index of Questions, 1970 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1970_1.html accessed 23 January 2019). Question 13a noted “if born in hospital, give State or country where mother lived.” Question 13b listed six different choices: “Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, Other Spanish or No, none of these.” Question 16b listed nine different timespan choices from “1965 to 70” to “Before 1915.” Question 17 listed language choices of “Spanish, French, German, Other, and None, English only.” As for sample populations, Questions 13a were sent to 15 and 5 percent of the population; Questions 13b, 16a, and 16b to 5 percent of the population only; and Question 14, 15, and 17 to 15 percent of the population only.

[xix] Index of Questions, 1980 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1980_1.html accessed 23 January 2019). Question 4 listed 15 different choices: “White, Black or Negro, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian (Amer.) (with a space to list tribe), Asian Indian, Hawaiian, Guamanian, Samoan, Eskimo, Aleut and Other (with space to complete).” Question 7 listed five choices: “No (not Spanish/Hispanic); Yes, Mexican, Mexican-Amer., Chicano; Yes, Puerto Rican; Yes, Cuban; and Yes, other Spanish/Hispanic.” Question 12b listed six different timespan choices from “1965 to 1980” to “Before 1950.” Question 13c listed four choices related to speaking English including “Very well, well, not well and not at all” and was to be completed only if the response to Question 13a was “Yes.”

[xx] Index of Questions, 1990 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/1990_1.html accessed 23 January 2019). Question 4 listed 15 different choices: “White, Black or Negro, Indian (Amer.) (with a space to list tribe), Eskimo, Aleut, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Asian Indian, Samoan, Guamanian, and Other (with space to complete).” Question 7 listed five choices: “No (not Spanish/Hispanic); Yes, Mexican, Mexican-Amer., Chicano; Yes, Puerto Rican; Yes, Cuban; and Yes, other Spanish/Hispanic.” Question 12b listed six different timespan choices from “1965 to 1980” to “Before 1950.” Question 13c listed four choices related to speaking English including “Very well, well, not well and not at all” and was to be completed only if the response to Question 15a was “Yes.”

[xxi] 2000 Overview, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/overview/2000.html accessed 25 January 2019). “In previous censuses, responses to the race question were limited to a single category; in 2000, for the first time, respondents could check as many boxes as necessary to identify their race.”

[xxii] Index of Questions, 2000 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/2000_1.html accessed 23 January 2019). Question 7 listed five choices: “No (not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino); Yes, Mexican, Mexican-Am., Chicano; Yes, Puerto Rican; Yes, Cuban; and Yes, other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino.” Question 8 listed 15 different choices: “White, Black, African Am. or Negro, American Indian or Alaska Native (with a space to list tribe), Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Other Asian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, Other Pacific Islander (with space to complete), and Some Other Race (with space to complete).” Question 11c listed four choices related to speaking English including “Very well, well, not well and not at all” and was to be completed only if the response to Question 11a was “Yes.” Question 13 listed five different choices including “Yes, born in the United States; Yes, born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Northern Marianas; Yes, born abroad of American parent or parents; Yes, a U.S. citizen by naturalization; and No, not a citizen of the United States.”

[xxiii] Index of Questions, 2010 Census, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/2010_1.html accessed 23 January 2019). Question 8 listed five choices: “No, not of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin; Yes, Mexican, Mexican-Am., Chicano; Yes, Puerto Rican; Yes, Cuban; and Yes, other Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” Question 9 listed 15 different choices: “White, Black, African Am. or Negro, American Indian or Alaska Native (with a space to list tribe), Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Other Asian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, Other Pacific Islander (with space to complete), and Some Other Race (with space to complete).”

[xxiv] American Community Survey, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/programs/demographic/american_community_survey.html accessed 25 January 2019).

[xxv] American Community Survey Questionnaire Archive, United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/methodology/questionnaire-archive.html accessed 25 January 2019).

[xxvi] American Community Survey 2018 – English, United States Census Bureau, (https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/methodology/questionnaires/2018/quest18.pdf?# accessed 25 January 2019). Question 5 listed five choices: “No, not of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin; Yes, Mexican, Mexican-Am., Chicano; Yes, Puerto Rican; Yes, Cuban; and Yes, other Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” Question 6 listed 15 different choices: “White, Black, African Am. or Negro, American Indian or Alaska Native (with a space to list tribe), Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Other Asian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, Other Pacific Islander (with space to complete), and Some Other Race (with space to complete).” Question 8 listed five different choices including “Yes, born in the United States; Yes, born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Northern Marianas; Yes, born abroad of American parent or parents; Yes, a U.S. citizen by naturalization (with space to enter year of naturalization); and No, not a citizen of the United States.” Question 9 clarified that if the person came to live in the United States more than once, the date of last entry was to be entered. Question 14c listed four choices related to speaking English including “Very well, well, not well and not at all” and was to be completed only if the response to Question 14a was “Yes.”

[xxvii] Anderson, Margo and William Seltzer. Census Confidentiality Under the Second War Powers Act (1942-1947), conference paper for session “Confidentiality, Privacy, and Ethical Issues in Demographic Data,” Population Association of America Annual Meeting, March 29-31, 2007, New York, NY (http://margoanderson.org/govstat/Seltzer-AndersonPAA2007paper3-12-2007.doc, accessed 25 January 2019).

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About the Author

Thomas MacEntee
Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee has been researching his family history for more than 40 years and is the creator of Abundant Genealogy, Genealogy Bargains, DNA Bargains, The Genealogy Do-Over and numerous other web-based genealogy and family history properties.