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The Joyce Foundation Signs Onto SCOTUS Brief Against Census Citizenship Question


On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard U.S. Department of Commerce v State of New York, a case that could decide whether a citizenship question is included on the 2020 Census. In recognition of the vital role that Census data plays in ensuring that communities get the resources they need and the risk the citizenship question poses to an accurate Census, the Joyce Foundation joined 30 philanthropic organizations in signing onto a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Court to strike down the question.

Joyce, which supported the filing of the case, is the only Illinois foundation to sign onto the brief in support of removing the citizenship question from the Census. The brief, signed by a broad spectrum of the philanthropic community, is an unusual and important move for philanthropy that was made because our role in identifying areas of societal need and targeting critical resources to addressing that need is compromised if we don’t have an accurate count.

Philanthropic organizations and our grantees and partners rely heavily on Census data in identifying those populations with the greatest need. In fact, Joyce based our current grant making strategy in part on Census data. And the available evidence gives every reason to believe that the effects of adding the citizenship question would be significant and negative. Therefore, we believe the public interest is best served by eliminating the citizenship question in order to encourage a complete count.