Census Measures Percentage Overlooked

Nearly 5% of Hispanic residents weren't included for 2020
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 10, 2022 4:10 PM CST
Census Missed Minorities More Often
A form for the 2020 US Census 2020 is photographed on March 18, 2020.   (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, File)

The 2020 census missed an unexpectedly small percentage of the total US population given the unprecedented challenges it faced, but Black, Hispanic, and American Indian residents were overlooked at higher rates than a decade ago, the Census Bureau said Thursday. The percentage of people overlooked during the 2020 census was much higher for some minority groups, the Census Bureau said in a report that measured how well the once-a-decade head count tallied every US resident and whether certain populations were undercounted or overrepresented in the count. Overcounts take place, for example, if someone owns a vacation home and is counted there as well as at a home address, the AP reports.

The Black population in the census had a net undercount of 3.3%, while it was almost 5% for Hispanics and 5.6% for American Indians and Native Alaskans living on reservations. The non-Hispanic white population had a net overcount of 1.6%, and Asians had a net overcount 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 almost a 4.9% undercount for American Indian and Alaskan Natives living on reservations, and it was 0.08% for Asians. The non-Hispanic white population had a net overcount of 0.8%. The 2020 census missed 0.24% of the entire US population, a rate that wasn't statistically significant, and 0.01% in 2010.

Advocates worried that a failed attempt by the Trump administration to add a citizenship question to the census questionnaire would scare off Hispanics and immigrants from participating, whether they were in the country legally or not. Census Bureau Director Robert Santos said Thursday that many Latino communities suffered during the pandemic from joblessness and housing insecurity, and that played a role in the undercount. But he added that the Trump administration's actions also may have had an impact. Arturo Vargas of NALEO Educational Fund said he had never seen such a large undercount in the Hispanic population. "We are just terribly—I can't even find the word right now—upset about the extent of the Latino undercount," Vargas said.

(More 2020 census stories.)

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