Census Bureau Seeks Permission to Include SOGI Questions in Annual Survey, Aiming to Improve Community Assistance and Civil Rights Enforcement


Updated: 8:25 PM, Thu September 21, 2023

Census Bureau Proposes Including SOGI Questions in Annual Survey to Improve Community Assistance and Civil Rights Enforcement

The U.S. Census Bureau has recently sought permission from the Biden administration to introduce questions about sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in its annual American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is the largest survey conducted by the Bureau, gathering demographic information from around 3.5 million households each year and providing valuable insights into the American public.

Currently, the ACS only asks about the marital status or cohabitation of same-sex couples. However, the Bureau aims to expand the survey by including SOGI questions for respondents aged 15 and older. By doing so, the Census Bureau hopes to enhance equal employment opportunities and enforcement of civil rights. These questions will contribute to a better understanding of the assistance required by specific communities and will shed light on the impact of discrimination on marginalized groups.

The proposal to include SOGI questions received support from experts who emphasize the significance of collecting data in this area. M. V. Lee Badgett, an economics professor, highlighted its potential to unveil the health, economic, housing, and other outcomes that could be negatively influenced by stigma and discrimination faced by the LGBT community. It will also allow tracking changes over time to determine if policies and laws are driving progress towards greater equality.

However, there are concerns regarding how households will accurately represent the sexual orientations or gender identities of all members. For instance, when parents or spouses fill out the survey on behalf of their family, they might not possess the accurate information required to answer the questions. This issue is particularly relevant for younger members of the LGBT community who might not be ready to disclose their identities to their parents or proxy reporters. Consequently, the quality of data for younger individuals might be impacted.

To address such concerns, the testing phase will involve experimenting with the wording, placement, and response categories of the SOGI questions. This will ensure the questions are user-friendly and yield accurate data. The ACS is randomly sent to approximately 2% of American households each year, and completion of the survey is mandatory by law for those selected.

By including SOGI questions, the Census Bureau intends to advance civil rights enforcement and improve the allocation of public assistance based on the specific needs of different communities. The insights garnered from these questions will provide a comprehensive and ongoing view of the American population, fostering a better understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by marginalized groups.

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Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson, a seasoned journalist and USA news expert, leads The Reportify's coverage of American current affairs. With unwavering commitment, he delivers up-to-the-minute, credible information, ensuring readers stay informed about the latest events shaping the nation. Michael's keen research skills and ability to craft compelling narratives provide deep insights into the ever-evolving landscape of USA news. He can be reached at michael@thereportify.com for any inquiries or further information.

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