U.S. won’t drop census questions on college major and marital history

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tags: census



The U.S. Census Bureau has decided not to drop questions from its annual American Community Survey (ACS) about marital history and what people studied in college after researchers complained about the pending loss of important data.

Last fall, the agency had proposed removing the questions in a bid to streamline the 72-question survey, begun in 2005 as a replacement for the so-called long form of the decennial census. The questions had scored low in a review that evaluated whether they were mandated by Congress, their cost, the burden to respondents, and their overall utility.

In a Federal Register notice posted today, the Census Bureau says it received 1361 comments urging it to retain three questions (#21, #22, and #23) relating to marital history and status and 625 comments asking it to preserve the question (#12) about a resident’s undergraduate college major. Demographers and social scientists say states already do a poor job of providing marriage data and that federal registries are “a disgrace.” The National Science Foundation had spent years lobbying for the Census Bureau to include the college-major question, arguing that it is essential for monitoring trends in the scientific workforce.




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