About one out of every nine Oregonians lives in a household with at least one non-US citizen. With the threat of a citizenship question being added to the 2020 US Census, this new piece of data matters to all Oregonians.

That's because the census, a collection of population data that the federal government conducts every ten years, is used to determine how federal funding for local programs are distributed, and also affects state representation in Congress. If those who live with a non-citizen are reluctant to answer census questions out of fear that the federal government will deport or arrest their loved ones, Oregon could lose crucial funding and federal representation.

The new estimate of non-citizen households in Oregon comes from a report released Wednesday by Portland State University’s Populations Research Center. Jason Jurjevich, the center’s associate director, said he felt compelled to crunch the numbers after news broke last year that the Trump administration was considering adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census. It would be the first time such a question has appeared on the census since 1950.

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that including a citizenship question on the Census would be unconstitutional—but there’s a chance that decision will be appealed and brought before the US Supreme Court this year.

“There’s been a lot of controversy” about adding the question, Jurjevich said. “And I wanted to provide some local context.”

It’s important to understand that one in nine people in Oregon live in a household with a non-citizen, Jurjevich said, because fear of that person being arrested or deported could prompt the entire household to abstain from answering any census questions. This could lead to a significant undercount in the census results, particularly among people of color and other at-risk populations.

This undercounting impacts both non-citizens and the citizens they live with.

Seventy-eight percent Oregonians who live with a non-citizen are people of color and one in five Oregon kids live with a non-citizen.

If these populations are significantly undercounted in the 2020 Census, it would affect Oregon in two key ways. Census data determines how federal funding gets distributed at a state and local level for a wide range of services, and vulnerable populations often rely on these programs for food, education, housing, and more.

This new questions only adds to a growing distrust of the government among immigrant households. Households that include non-citizens and people of color are already less likely to participate in the census, Jurjevich said, because of language barriers, privacy concerns, and mistrust in the government. Adding a citizenship question “would make that challenge even more difficult.”

Andrea Williams, the executive director of immigrant rights organization Causa’s Oregon branch, said that a “general sense of hesitation” exists within the Oregon immigrant community to interact with the federal government in any way. Many non-citizens and their loved ones worry that a census citizenship information would be shared with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“Under today’s increased climate of fear and anxiety, providing any information to the federal government is increasingly difficult,” Williams said. “We see this as an intentional strategy by the Trump administration.”

The census also decides how many US congressional districts each state has, and Oregon is projected to earn a sixth district after the 2020 Census due to population growth. Given that about ten percent of Oregon households might be reluctant to answer census questions, that lack of responses could be significant enough to deny Oregon an additional district.

There is no word from the Trump administration yet as to whether it plans to appeal the federal judge’s ruling. Williams said that after reading the judge’s full decision, she doubts the administration could make a compelling enough case to put the question pack on the census.

“We’re celebrating it as a victory,” she said, “until we hear otherwise.”