Changes In The 2020 U.S. Census Have Some Divided

Thursday, May 17th 2018, 9:20 pm
By: Brian Dorman

There have been varied opinions to the changes coming to the 2020 U.S. Census.  Across the country, it will leave out those who identify as LGBTQ, but it will also be more inclusive for those who identify as African American or black.  Members of both minority groups spoke with News On 6 about the changes.

“Every American has a gender expression and gender identity, every single American, so we're not asking that you do something special for us," said Toby Jenkins With Oklahomans for equality.  “It recognizes I'm white, it recognizes I'm Choctaw Indian, it recognizes my age, what socioeconomic status I have, and where I live."

With the progression of gay rights and legalization of same-sex marriage, it was surprising to many that there will be no questions about sexual orientation in the 2020 census.  But for those who identify as LGBTQ, it won't include their sexual orientation, if they're in a same-sex marriage, or if they identify as transsexual.  Questions that Jenkins says are vital.

"That begins to help us address hate crime legislation, bullying in our schools, and making sure that all our citizens are treated equally," said Jenkins.

In addition to those changes, the 2020 Census will also Become more inclusive for those who are African American, allowing them to say where in Africa their family is from, the first-ever inclusion of this option.  It also allows those who are black, but not from Africa, to mark their point of origin.

"I think to say 'I'm black' is wonderful thing.  I think we honor the person who says, 'I'm an independent person - I don't just lump into one category,'" said Alicia Latimer of the African American Resource Center.

She says the issue is complex and personal for many and, though it may seem unimportant, it matters to many African-Americans.

“If a community is being under counted, that can have some very serious ramifications in that community," said Latimer.

The 2020 U.S. Census will also include is a section for those who are White and Hispanic to mark where their family originated from as well.