Census worker with the Hollerith card puncher, dated 1919. CREDIT: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Card_puncher_-_NARA_-_513295.jpg">U.S. National Archives and Records Administration/Public Domain</a>
Census worker with the Hollerith card puncher, dated 1919. CREDIT: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration/Public Domain

The History of the Census & the Citizenship Question, with Ted Widmer

Jul 2, 2019

Historian Ted Widmer tells the fascinating story of the United States Census, from its Revolutionary War origins up to the citizenship question controversy of the 2020 edition. As the Civil War, westward expansion, and new technology changed America, how did it change the Census? And with the Trump administration politicizing the count, what are the stakes for all U.S. residents and future versions?

Historian Ted Widmer tells the fascinating story of the United States Census, from its Revolutionary War origins up to the citizenship question controversy of the 2020 edition. As the Civil War, westward expansion, and new technology changed America, how did it change the Census? And with the Trump administration politicizing the count, what are the stakes for all U.S. residents and future versions?

This article references Widmer's May 2019 New Yorker article, "How the Census Changed America" and Chris Dick's June 27 Washington Post opinion piece, "The 2020 Census is still at risk."

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