Census 2020 Briefing


Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Land Hall, Belfer 400, Harvard Kennedy School

Just one year from now the U.S. Census will begin its once a decade exercise to count the population of the United States. This count will occur amidst numerous social and political tensions; historically low trust in government and institutions; a fragmented media and news environment; and the rise of social media platforms and technology use broadly. Harvard ID holders are invited to join us and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy for a conversation among faculty and the HKS community to better understand what’s at stake, the constitutional and legal context, and the impact a question on citizenship could have on the 2020 Census. Following the discussion there will be opportunities for questions and continued engagement. 

Speakers include:

  • Matthew Baum, Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Noah Feldman, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Kyla Fullenwider, Former Chief Innovation Officer, U. S. Census Bureau & Entrepreneurship Fellow, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy

Lunch will be served. 


The Census will determine how over $800 billion dollars in federal funding is distributed each year, who gains or loses congressional seats, and how legislative districts will be drawn. For the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau will add an online response option. This will be a resident facing digital data collection platform that aims for half of all respondents. Our nation’s first “digital” census presents myriad opportunities for a truly participatory count, but a confluence of issuesincluding a recently added question on American citizenshipthreaten to undermine its integrity.