Census Bureau

Editor's note: NPR National Correspondent Hansi Lo Wang spoke with the U.S. Census Bureau's Acting Director Ron Jarmin in an exclusive interview — Jarmin's first with a news organization since stepping in last July to lead the federal government's largest statistical agency.

Jarmin discussed how the bureau is preparing for the upcoming 2020 census, including the controversial new citizenship question.

The following is a partial transcript of the conversation, which has been edited for clarity.

NALEO Education Fund

The last time the federal government asked about citizenship status on the U.S. census was 1950. Now federal officials plan to do it again in 2020.

The U.S. population is getting older and more racially diverse, according to new estimates from the Census Bureau. The findings come out as a separate analysis finds that for the first time, white deaths exceeded births in a majority of states.

White people remain the majority in the U.S. — but in new data from the Census Bureau, non-Hispanic whites were the only group that didn't grow from 2016 to 2017. Whites declined by .02 percent to a total of around 198 million people.

Updated on April 27

Incomplete questionnaires for the 2020 census, including those that leave the controversial citizenship question unanswered, will still be included in the upcoming U.S. head count, the Census Bureau's top official confirmed Wednesday to lawmakers.

Updated April 24

Officials from the U.S. Census Bureau and Commerce Department, which oversees the census, are expected to be grilled on Capitol Hill next month about the addition of a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census form. They are set to appear before lawmakers at a public hearing scheduled for May 8, according to a statement from Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The announcement of the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census questionnaire has launched calls for lawsuits, legislation and now multiple congressional hearings. In a letter written to the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has oversight of the U.S.

Updated on March 28 at 12:30 p.m.

After a controversial decision by the Department of Commerce to add a question about U.S. citizenship to the 2020 census, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the move as nothing out of the ordinary.

The claim

"This is a question that's been included in every census since 1965," Sanders said Tuesday, "with the exception of 2010, when it was removed."

Updated 2:30 a.m. ET Tuesday

The U.S. Commerce Department announced late Monday that it will restore a question about citizenship to the 2020 census questionnaire.

In an eight-page memo Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the Justice Department has requested that the census ask who is a citizen in order to help determine possible violations of the Voting Rights Act, to help enforce that law.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET Friday

A Census Bureau announcement about the race and ethnicity questions for the 2020 census suggests the Trump administration will not support Obama-era proposals to change how the U.S. government collects information about race and ethnicity, census experts say.

Updated Dec. 6

"White" has been a constant of the U.S. census.

Other racial categories for the national head count have come and gone over the centuries. But "white" has stuck ever since U.S. marshals went door to door by horseback for the first census in 1790, tallying up the numbers of "free white males" and "free white females," plus "all other free persons" and "slaves."

After an outcry from advisers to the U.S. Census Bureau, the federal agency is no longer considering a proposal to remove a question about sexual orientation from a marketing survey for the 2020 Census.

In the 1970s, the nation's Latino advocacy groups had grown fed up with the U.S. Census Bureau. During its 1970 population count, the agency had made a half-hearted attempt to quantify the number of Latinos and Hispanics living in the United States.

America's diversity remains on the rise, with all racial and ethnic minorities growing faster than whites from 2015 to 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau says in a new snapshot of the national population. The agency also found the U.S. median age has risen to nearly 38.

Asian and mixed-race people are the two fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population, the U.S. Census Bureau says. Both groups grew by 3 percent from July 2015 to July 2016. In the same 12 months, the non-Hispanic white population grew by just 5,000 people.

The U.S. Census Bureau has never asked Americans about sexual orientation and gender identity. Last year, though, requests for that data came from more than 75 members of Congress and multiple federal agencies.

Still, the Census Bureau concluded "there was no federal data need" to collect this information, the bureau's outgoing director, John Thompson, wrote in March.

Pages