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U.S. Marketing Trade Groups Oppose Citizenship Census Question

Four U.S. marketing trade groups today registered their opposition to the adding of a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census questionnaire.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) sent a joint letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce in which they said they were opposed to the new census inquiry that asks: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

“We are concerned that [it] would depress response among both non-citizens and their families (even if family members are indeed citizens),” the letter stated. “That runs the risk of non-respondent bias by significantly undercounting immigrant, minority, and low-income populations. If immigrants and others avoid the national head-count, the census results will be flawed.



It further addresses the impact such a question could have on the marketing industry, citing a distorted representation of population estimates and research that is benchmarked to those numbers.

“It could have a particularly negative impact on media that serve multicultural communities, thecompanies which research them, and the agencies which help advertise to them. The value marketers see inthose consumer segments would be understated and investments reduced.”

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