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Bunche Hall 3345

Matt A. Barreto ::

Matt A. Barreto

Professor of Political Science & Chicano Studies

Current Research Projects: Census 2020

For the 2020 Census the Department of Commerce attempted to add a question asking all households to indicate whether every household member is currently a U.S. citizen or not. Currently that question is asked on the Census ACS which is a sample of about 1.7% to 2.1% of all households. In 2020 the DOC had planned to add this as a required question to the 100% household short form. In response, the states of California, New York, and 16 other states, along with 14 localities sued the Department of Commerce arguing that the inclusion of a citizenship question would harm the quality of the data and lead to a net under-count. As part of these lawsuits, I was assisted by Ph.D. student Marcel Roman, and we conducted a comprehensive literature review on sensitive questions, political context, and response rates to understand how this new question might impact response rates in 2020. In addition, we implemented a large national survey to ask residents of all 50 states how they plan to respond or participate in light of a new citizenship question.

I submitted three expert reports and federal courts in California, New York and Maryland relied upon the conclusions of the literature review and survey which found the citizenship question would harm response rate and lower data quality in 2020.

UPDATE: On July 21, 2020 a Presidential Memorandum (PM) was issued that declared undocumented immigrants would be found through administrative records and then matched to census counts and excluded from the base apportionment count.  The NYAG, ACLU and Covington & Burling, LLP sued President Trump, and I authored an expert report describing how the PM was widely reported in the media and created a sense of fear, threat and confusion in the immigrant community and would reduce participation rates in the final months.  This case is currently being heard by Southern District of New York Federal Judge Jesse M. Furman.

Publicly available research reports

  • Expert Report of Matthew A. Barreto, Ph.D. in California lawsuit [ Download PDF ]

  • Expert Report of Matthew A. Barreto, Ph.D. in New York lawsuit [ Download PDF ]

  • Barreto Rebutal to Abowd in New York lawsuit [ Download PDF ]

  • Expert Report of Matthew A. Barreto, Ph.D. in Kravitz (MD) lawsuit [ Download PDF ]

  • Analysis of imputation in NY & CA lawsuits[ Download PDF ]

    Contact: barretom(at)