People with Taiwan roots encouraged to write 'Taiwanese' on 2020 US census

Advocates call for Taiwanese immigrants to write 'Taiwanese' on 2020 US census race question

(Photo from Taiwan Census 2020 Facebook page)

(Photo from Taiwan Census 2020 Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A Taiwanese-American organization has launched a campaign to encourage Taiwanese immigrants and those with Taiwanese roots to write in "Taiwanese" on the 2020 U.S. census form, instead of marking the box for "Chinese."

The nonprofit group Taiwanese American Citizens League (TACL) has launched a campaign titled the "Write In Taiwanese Census 2020 Campaign" designed to educate Taiwanese that they have the option to write in their identity on the U.S. Census form.

The campaign's director Christina Hu told Taiwan News that there's no check-off box on the form, so the group is informing Taiwanese that they need to check "Other Asian" and write in "Taiwanese" for it to be counted. The group suggests that people who came from Taiwan, have family there, or can trace some of their heritage to the country should write in "Taiwanese."

Hu said there are two important reasons why their census campaign is important.

  1. The count from the census affects government makeup, policies, and funding decisions for the next 10 years.
  2. The Taiwanese community needs to make sure that its counts are accurately represented.

The census occurs every 10 years, and there have been campaigns by the Taiwanese-American community occurring in 1990, 2000, and 2010 that TACL helped to spearhead, said Hu. The 2000 census recorded 145,000 Taiwanese living in the U.S., while the 2010 census showed 215,000, and increase of nearly 50 percent.

TACL President, Wellington Tzou told Taiwan News that federal and state funding for programs is determined based on census data. Therefore, the more accurate a count of the Taiwanese people in America, the more funding that will be allocated to the Taiwanese Community.

Census section on race. (Photo from TACL)

Tzou said census data is also used to help determine population data within certain regions. This allows federal and state governments to know how many Taiwanese are in those regions and whether or not to focus on building relationships with the local Taiwanese community.

He reminded readers that a person does not need to be an American citizen to complete the census. As long as they live in America, they can complete the census, said Tzou.

Tzou then explained that this is a vital opportunity to increase the voice of Taiwanese so they can be heard by politicians and address their concerns:

"I want it to be known that Taiwanese people are in America and that we have a voice here. The more people who declare that they are Taiwanese or have Taiwanese heritage, the more likely the government and elected officials will listen to our community and pay attention to causes that are important to us."

He added that it is an important way for Taiwanese to remember their heritage: "It also helps me, who was born in America, to remember my heritage and where my family came from."

More information can be bound on the Census 2020 Write-In Campaign website and the Taiwanese Census 2020 Facebook page.