AZ Mayor and GWU Researcher Warn of Devastating Consequences of Adding Citizenship Question to 2020 Census

Contact: LaGloria Wheatfall, [email protected], 202.548.7160

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a decision coming down from the Supreme Court regarding the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census this month, communities across all sectors, including business owners and local governments, are bracing for how this ruling could affect them. As Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Co-Chair of the House Census Caucus, pointed out, if the Supreme Court chooses to add a citizenship question to the census, businesses throughout the country—and the economy at large – could face devastating consequences. More than a dozen companies — including Uber, Lyft, Univision, Warby Parker, Postmates, Ben & Jerry’s and Levi Strauss — have voiced their opposition and signed an amicus brief outlining their concerns about the impact of adding this question.

Today, Republican Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Arizona and Dr. Andrew Reamer, Research Professor at George Washington University warned of the cost of adding an untested citizenship question to the census for the first time in almost 230 years, and discussed how this question will affect businesses and communities across the U.S.

The impact of adding a citizenship question would be dire for communities like Mesa. “Having an undercount really doesn’t serve anyone,” said Mayor John Giles. “It’s going to result in less representation. It’s going to result in less funding. And it’s going to result in bad data.”

The research confirms the catastrophic potential this could have. “If someone has a goal to waste taxpayer dollars and ensure the economy doesn’t work well and businesses end up in places where there is not enough demand, then adding a citizenship question is a really effective way to achieve that goal,” said Dr. Andrew Reamer. “Businesses depend on the data to determine where to open up a new establishment, if there is a qualified work force available to keep the business running, and what goods and services to provide. Those numbers depend on the accuracy of the census.”

Audio of this briefing, with complete statements from Mayor Giles and Dr. Reamer, can be found here.


Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Arizona was elected the 40th Mayor of Mesa, Arizona in August, 2014. He was re-elected in August 2016 and began his first full four-year term in January 2017. Mayor Giles is committed to taking Mesa to the next level with his NextMesa vision. Mayor Giles has overseen a growing economy that added thousands of new jobs, new employers like Apple and Textron Aviation and over $3.2 billion in new capital investment. He is bringing renewed focus and attention to Mesa’s downtown resulting in a budding creative economy with new businesses, education and entertainment options. Giles is a proud member of the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness. Mesa’s program has housed more than 120 homeless vets. Recognizing these efforts and more,, a subsidiary of Time Magazine, named Mesa the best big city in the Southwest.

Dr. Andrew Reamer’s, Research Professor at George Washington University, research efforts aim to encourage U.S. national economic development and competitiveness. Areas of focus include strategic economic analysis and policy, innovation and entrepreneurship, workforce development, and the federal economic statistics system. Reamer is a member of several federal advisory committees — the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Workforce Information Advisory Council, the Bureau of Economic Advisory Committee, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics Data Users Advisory Committee. Andrew spent six years at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and 20 years as a consultant in U.S. regional economic development and public policy. He received a Ph.D. in Economic Development and Public Policy and a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Economics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.