Census Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question

Published in The Hill | News on

The entire advertising campaign with 1,000 ads will continue over the next five months, including Latino populations, African Americans and Asian Americans.

The Census Bureau is spending millions of dollars on an ad campaign seeking to assure members of the Latino community that their information will not be shared with local or federal authorities.

The ads, which are a part of the bureau’s $500 million campaign, are focused on mitigating fears regarding a lack of confidentiality, following the push for the now-excluded citizenship question from the 2020 census.

The entire advertising campaign with 1,000 ads will continue over the next five months, including $50 million targeting Latino populations, $40 million focused on African Americans and $20 million on Asian Americans, according to Culture ONE World, a Washington-based ad agency, Politico reported.

Several of the ads are directed at minority populations, particularly the Latino community, because of the bureau’s concerns that the 2020 census will undercount these populations, according to Politico.

January report from the bureau found fears over a Trump administration-supported citizenship question could decrease the number of Latinos willing to participate. The census count affects redistricting and federal grant spending until 2030.

The ads, focused on reducing anxiety about confidentiality in the wake of the citizenship question and stressing the safety of the census, run in Spanish and in markets with high Latino populations. Culture ONE also told Politico that several will air in so-called sanctuary cities, where officials decline to share information with federal immigration authorities.

“I was like you ten years ago,” one of the men in the ad says in Spanish, according to Politico. “I filled [the 2010 census] out and look at me, I’m still here!”

A Census Bureau spokesperson told Politico that the bureau isn’t explicitly saying the citizenship question – which was advocated by Trump administration officials and blocked by the Supreme Court in June – won’t be on the census.

The bureau said it has conducted extensive research for its advertising campaign and the spokesperson said the ads were focused on "positive messaging about the community benefits of responding to the 2020 census.”