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Why We Have A Census, And What It Does


Stand up and be counted.  That's the basic idea behind the every-ten-years census of the U.S. population. 

Not only is the census required by the Constitution, it is enormously important; it is the basis for the drawing of legislative districts (and the next one could give Oregon an additional Congressional seat), it is used by agencies and nonprofits to allocate services, and so much more. 

The proposal to include a citizenship question makes the walk-up to the 2020 census more contentious than usual.  The census has been misused before... it was used to help round up Japanese-Americans for internment during World War II. 

Margo Anderson at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has researched that episode.  Kenneth Prewitt apologized for that action when he ran the Census Bureau, in 2000.  Jennifer Van Hook teaches sociology and demography at Penn State, so census issues are part of her domain.  These are our three guests for a broad discussion of the census, past, present, and future.      


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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.