Memorandum of Disapproval on a Bill Requiring Detailed Census Tabulations Relating to Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders


November 8, 1988


I am withholding my approval of H.R. 4432, a bill ``to amend title 13, United States Code, to require certain detailed tabulations relating to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the decennial censuses of population.'' This bill would also require certain housing-related questions in the 1990 decennial census.


My decision not to approve this bill is based on the following reasons. First, the bill would unnecessarily restrict the form of the race question in future censuses. Second, it would require the Census Bureau to use a form of race question that the Bureau has tested and found to be less accurate than the one it plans to use in 1990. Third, it would specifically require questions relating to plumbing facilities and heating and cooling equipment in housing units that would not produce data sufficiently useful to justify their inclusion. Adequate data on plumbing and heating will continue to be available through the census and other sources. Finally, these changes would increase administrative costs and add to the paperwork burden imposed on the public by the census.


There are always more questions proposed for the census than can be accommodated. The Administration has proposed a questionnaire that represents a careful and reasonable balancing between the Nation's need for information and the reporting burden the census places on respondents.


Ronald Reagan


The White House,


November 8, 1988.


Note: The memorandum was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on November 9.