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Blacks, Hispanics and Indigenous people were undercounted in the 2020 census – NBC Boston


The 2020 census missed a surprisingly small percentage of the total US population given the unprecedented challenges it faced, but black, Hispanic and Native American residents were overlooked at higher rates than there are. ten years, the US Census Bureau said Thursday.

The percentage of people overlooked in the 2020 census was much higher for certain minority groups, the Census Bureau said in a report that measured how closely the once-a-decade count corresponded to each U.S. resident and whether certain populations were under -estimated or overrepresented in the count. Overcounts occur, for example, if someone owns a vacation home and is counted there as well as at a residential address.

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, blamed political interference by the Trump administration, which tried unsuccessfully to add a citizenship question to the census form and curtail operations in the field.

“These numbers are devastating. Once again, we are seeing an overcount of white Americans and an undercount of black and Hispanic Americans,” Morial said on a call with reporters. “I want to express in the strongest possible terms our indignation.”

The 2020 census black population had a net undercount of 3.3%, while it was almost 5% for Hispanics and 5.6% for American Indians and Native Americans. Alaska living on reservations. The non-Hispanic white population had a net overcoverage of 1.6% and Asians had a net overcoverage of 2.6%, according to one of the reports.

In the 2010 census, by comparison, the black population had a net undercount of more than 2%, while it was 1.5% for the Hispanic population. There was an undercount of nearly 4.9% for Native Americans and Alaska Natives living on reservations, and it was 0.08% for Asians. The non-Hispanic white population had a net overcoverage of 0.8%.

The 2020 census missed 0.24% of the entire US population, a rate that was not statistically significant, while it missed 0.01% in the 2010 census.

While America is more diverse than ever, it is also becoming more compartmentalized: more educated people are increasingly concentrated in cities. NBCLX Political Editor Noah Pransky breaks down early data from the 2020 Census and explains its impact on your congressional district and the political world.

Census figures help determine the breakdown of $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year as well as the number of congressional seats each state gets. Any undercounts in various populations can reduce the amount of funding and political representation they get over the next decade.

In the years leading up to the 2020 census, supporters feared that a failed attempt by the Trump administration to add a citizenship question to the census questionnaire would deter Hispanics and immigrants from participating, whether they are legally or not in the country. The Trump administration has also tried unsuccessfully to get the Census Bureau to illegally exclude locals from the numbers used to allocate congressional seats among states.

In a conference call on Thursday, Census Bureau Director Robert Santos said many Latino communities across the United States had suffered during the pandemic from unemployment and housing insecurity, and that played a role in the undercount. But he added that the actions of the Trump administration may also have had an impact.

“I’m personally not surprised to see the results we’re seeing today,” said Santos, who was sworn in to the position earlier this year.

Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO Educational Fund, said he had never seen such a large undercount in the Hispanic population in the 35 years since the census.

“As you can imagine, we’re terribly — I can’t even find the word right now — upset about the extent of the Latino undercount,” Vargas said on the conference call.

About 70% of Native Americans live on reservations. James Tucker, chairman of a Census Bureau advisory committee, estimated the undercount resulted in at least 100,000 Native Americans on uncounted reservations and an annual loss of more than $300 million in federal funding for the Indian country.

“The substantial resources and efforts that tribes and national and local organizers have expended to get a full count in Indian Country have made a difference,” Tucker said. “Without these efforts, the undercount would undoubtedly have been much greater than it was.”

Lycia Maddocks, political director of NDN Collective, a South Dakota-based advocacy group, said COVID-19 made counting people living on reservations difficult as many tribes closed their borders. Additionally, many residents lacked internet access and the Census Bureau’s efforts to hire tribal members for the count “were slow and came too little,” said Maddocks, who is a citizen of the tribe. Indian Fort Yuma Quechan based in Yuma, Arizona. .

Any undercount “puts tribal nations at a disadvantage when seeking funding for basic health care, infrastructure, education and other needs that directly contribute to advancing self-determination,” Maddocks said.

The pandemic has disrupted census operations and schedules, and made residents reluctant to open their doors to answer enumerators’ questions. Wildfires in the West and hurricanes on the Gulf Coast during the door-to-door phase of the count caused residents to flee their homes.

In the first report released Thursday, the Post-Enumeration Survey, a sample of households was re-interviewed by enumerators and these responses were matched with their results from the 2020 census. The second report, the demographic analysis, has used immigration data and birth and death records to calculate population, which was compared to 2020 census results.

The US Census Bureau on Monday released state population totals that determine how many House seats each state gets out of 435. According to the data, southern states have seen the fastest growth, with an increase overall 10.2% of the population.


Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Arizona contributed to this report.

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