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.
Members of a working group of the bureau's National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations on a conference call on Tuesday with bureau staffers raised concerns after learning about the proposal to change the draft questionnaire for the Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Survey, or CBAMS, according to meeting minutes obtained by NPR.
Responses to this survey help the bureau craft its marketing campaign to encourage different segments of the U.S. population to participate in the 2020 Census. The survey's questions try to gauge why certain people — especially among what the bureau considers "hard-to-count" populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities, unauthorized immigrants, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — do not participate.
The bureau first commissioned this marketing survey in 2008 for the roll-out of the 2010 Census. In preparation for the 2020 Census, the bureau published a Federal Register notice in August to collect public comments on a new draft questionnaire, which included for the first time a question about the respondent's sexual orientation.