Why the Census Must Frame the Right Questions on Race and National Origin

Getting Precise Data Affects Billions in Federal Dollars and Shapes Public Policy

Like most Americans, I spent most of my life not appreciating the herculean effort the U.S. Census Bureau undertakes every 10 years.

Since its inception in 1790, the U.S. Census has aimed to count every living person in the country, and the stakes are high. The results of the census determine the allocation of hundreds of billions of federal dollars, which affect every slice of American life.

In order to do so, the Census must ask Americans the right questions—and give them the right options for their answers. It seems …