Apr 13, 2019 - Politics & Policy

2020 census omits "Arab American"

In this image, a man holds a toddler while another man hands out census papers.

Arab American men exiting a mosque take fliers encouraging participation in the 2010 census. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Arab Americans still don't have the option to select a race or ethnicity beyond "white, black, Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander" on the U.S. census, the Associated Press reports.

Reality check: The Arab American Institute says there are 3.6 million Arab Americans in the country, not the 2 million estimated by the U.S. census, per the AP. Census underreporting, which leads to a lack of representation, health and social services, is ongoing in a community that advocates say grew 72% between 2000 and 2010.

What to watch: The Trump administration's request to ask about the citizenship of American residents on the 2020 census, which is still pending in the Supreme Court, would discourage 30% of Arab Americans from taking the survey, the American-Arab Anti-Defamation Committee reportedly found.

“We do feel that more research and testing is needed before we can proceed to implement or propose to implement a separate Middle Eastern or North African category."
— Census Bureau chief of Population Karen Battle at a 2018 program review

Go deeper: Trump claims 2020 census without citizenship question is "meaningless"

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