The U.S. Census Bureau announced the establishment of a committee tasked with advising the organization on LGBT populations for implementing the once-a-decade national census.
The National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations will advise the Census Bureau on topics such as housing, children, youth, poverty, privacy, race, ethnicity and LGBT populations.
According to a release, the committee will be made up of 31 members who have been selected based on their "expertise and knowledge of the cultural patterns, issues and/or statistical needs of hard-to-count populations."
Shane Snowdon, director of the LGBT Health and Aging Program at the Human Rights Campaign, and Charlotte Patterson, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who specializes in child development in families with parents of the same sex, are among those chosen.
According to Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's acting director, the committee will help meet emerging statistical challenges faced by an increasingly diverse nation.
"We expect that the expertise of this committee will help us meet emerging challenges the Census Bureau faces in producing statistics about our diverse nation," Mesenbourg said in a statement. "By helping us better understand a variety of issues that affect statistical measurement, this committee will help ensure that the Census Bureau continues to provide relevant and timely statistics used by federal, state and local governments as well as business and industry in an increasingly technologically oriented society."
The national census has never asked respondents about their sexual orientation, except in the case of same-sex couples who have been able to indicate the sex of their spouse or partner. It remains unclear if this move by the Census Bureau could mean a full count of the LGBT population in the 2020 census.