UCLA Faculty and Alumni Discuss the Past and Present Politicization of the US Census

Credit: Caitlin McKown/UW Applied Population Laboratory, https://www.wiscontext.org/changing-faces-wisconsins-foreign-born-residents

Comparative historical sociologists, Professors Dylan Riley and Patricia Ahmed (UCLA alumni) and Professor Rebecca Jean Emigh (UCLA faculty) highlight the pitfalls of Trump administration’s current immigration and census policies, using historical referents. The Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, has pushed to include a citizenship question into the 2020 census. Opponents suggest that this will depress the count in regions with a lot of immigrants, thereby depriving those areas of federal funding. Proponents suggest that this will correctly count only citizens in the apportionment process. However, the census was never designed to count only citizens, as they show in their recent two volume work, How Societies and States Count. See the article on the citizenship question HERE.

 

Dylan Riley is Professor of Sociology at University of California, Berkeley. His work uses comparative and historical methods to challenge a set of key conceptual oppositions in classical sociological theory: authoritarianism and democracy, revolution and counter-revolution, and state and society.

Rebecca Jean Emigh is Professor of Sociology at University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on how cultural, economic, and demographic factors intersect to create long-term processes of social change.

Patricia Ahmed is Professor of Sociology at South Dakota State University. She specializes in structural adjustments and censuses.

Co-authors: From left to right, Professors Riley, Emigh, and Ahmed

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