Oh Horrors! Asking About Citizenship On The Census
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When President Donald Trump suggested that the Census ask about citizenship in 2020, many liberals gasped. The reaction is ridiculous as the Federal Government has been asking all sorts of very personal questions for many years.

 In 2003, the Federal Government standardized birth certificates for all states and U. S. territories. Birth certificate questionnaires are provided to the mother for completion and attendants are rigorous in making sure all the information is provided. (I was present when my daughter was badgered 9 years ago when she left a few spaces blank.)

The questionnaires  [PDF] include very specific information about race, ethnicity, birth place and education of parents. Does the mother use cigarettes? What payment was used for obstetric services: Medicaid, private insurance, self pay?

And, there is more: characteristics of labor and delivery, date of last menses, infant breastfeeding at discharge, infections including: syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, C.

Here’s a sample:


All birth certificate information is collected at the local level, transmitted to states and then to the National Center for Health Statistics, which is a division of the Centers for Disease Control. Annual data is available in reports at the CDC website. They are large PDF documents. Prior to completion of the annual reports, the CDC sends out data briefs. Here is a just-released data brief for 2017.

Births in the United States, 2017,  NCHS Data Brief No. 318, August 2018. [PDF]

This 2017 data brief fails to "brief" on some unpleasant data. For example, Medicaid funded 43% of deliveries it states. In the complete 2016 birth data report, one finds that 66% of black births and 60% of Hispanic births were Medicaid funded. Medicaid obstetric services are provided to women regardless of immigration status.

Half of Hispanic birth mothers were foreign-born and 53% of all were unmarried. Sixteen percent of non-Hispanic black women were foreign-born, and 70% of all black mothers were unmarried.

Only 70% of Hispanic birth mothers have a high school diploma or higher as compared to 93% of white mothers and 85% of black mothers.

Internet only tables provide even more details from birth questionnaires except they do not break out data by nativity (country of birth) of the mother. They used to do so. What's with that?

As an aside, death data obtained from standardized death certificate questionnaires are also available for those interested. A spoiler alert: young black males are still murdering one another at alarming rates.

Asking about citizenship on the census makes perfect sense. Congressional districts are apportioned on the basis of residents. It would make much more sense to apportion them on the number of citizens.

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