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Senator Brian Schatz
722 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Schatz,
The American Anthropological Association, the world’s largest professional and scholarly society for our field, supports the 2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act (S. 2578).
Our Association stands for advancing understanding of the human condition through anthropological research, and for applying this understanding to addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. It is often said that anthropology is a field of knowledge that is dedicated to making the world safe for cultural differences. A full, fair, and accurate 2020 Census allows people to give voice to these distinctive cultural perspectives. Getting the Census right is important for all American communities – particularly those most likely to be undercounted. Our support is not premised on political views but on our scholarly expertise in these areas of profound importance.
The decennial census is an irreplaceable source of data for researchers across the social sciences who use it to generate valuable findings about the US population that can be used to inform evidence-based policies. How we classify and count individuals has real life consequences for health care and pretty much every aspect of lived experience. Any last-minute, untested changes could have a significant and deleterious impact on the accuracy of the responses received and compromise one of the most valuable data resources the government produces.
It is the Census Bureau’s constitutional responsibility to conduct a fair and accurate count of every person living in the United States. We strongly urge Congress to safeguard the integrity of Census data by supporting the principles embodied in this legislation. AAA stands ready to provide expertise and addition information should it be required.
Dr. Alex Barker