Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans Undercounted in 2020

Last updated on March 19, 2022 by BVN

Breanna Reeves |

An analysis released by the U.S. Census Bureau found that the 2020 Census did not count blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans, and over-counted white and Asian populations.

O report was published on March 10 and estimated that approximately 18.8 million were not properly counted in the census. The bill for the 2020 Census came with unforeseen obstacles that began with the conflict of questions about the citizenship of former President Donald Trump, the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent blockades in the United States that hampered an already challenging process.

“Today’s results show statistical evidence that the quality of the total census of the 2020 census is consistent with that of recent censuses. This is remarkable, given the unprecedented challenges of 2020,” said director Robert L. Santos “But the results also include some limitations: the 2020 Census underscored many of the same population groups we have historically underestimated, and outperformed others.”

Historically, black, Hispanic, and indigenous populations have been underestimated due to circumstances that are overlooked or not considered, such as living in housing units, multiple families living in a single household, or having limited high-speed Internet access. used more during 2020. Census because of the pandemic.

The 2020 census did not count blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans and outnumbered white and Asian populations. (census.gov).

“One of the things that was different for the 2020 Census was that they did a lot of the collection online, and that’s an approach that’s not going to reach a lot of people,” said Eric McGhee, principal investigator at the Institute for Public Policy. California (PPIC), he said. McGhee explained that the census initially planned to conduct in-person counts, follow up with people, and send paper versions to hard-to-tell communities, however, the pandemic halted those plans.

What makes a community hard to tell?

Black, Hispanic, and indigenous populations are largely identified as the most difficult to count by the Census Bureau. In California, a community or population (census tract) is defined as the most difficult to count if it has a high score based on the 14 demographic, housing, and socioeconomic variables described in CA-HTC Index. Some of the factors in the index include:

  • % of households without high speed internet access
  • % of households containing non-families
  • % of foreign-born populations
  • % of the population under the age of five
  • % of the population with incomes below 150% of the poverty level ($ 20,385)

The final report of the 2020 California Census noted that communities that are measured with higher index values ​​are more likely to count than areas with lower index values.

Although it is unknown exactly how many of those 18.8 million underestimated population are residents of California, in March 2019, the PPIC published a information sheet pointing out that a sub – account could affect California ‘s political representations as a result of redistricting.

“The 10-year census is the only basis for reallocating 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Given recent demographic trends, California is likely to retain its 53 seats. But if the census does a bad job of reaching populations and hard-to-count immigrant communities, could lose more than 1.6 million residents, and the state could easily lose a seat, ”the fact sheet notes.

After the 2020 census, California lost a seat in Congress in the House, for the first time in state history. California now has 52 seats. With the loss of a seat resulting in the loss of a vote in the Electoral College, the state will also receive less federal funds. California has also experienced a slower growth rate of 5.9% since 2010, a growth rate lower than the national rate of 7.4%.

After the 2020 Census, for the first time in state history. California lost a seat in the United States House of Representatives. (source: ushouse.gov).

“The most direct [and] the immediate impact is on the representation. The main goal of the census is to figure out how to draw representative districts across the country, “McGhee explained. [overcounted]”.

Using race as an indicator to target hard-to-count communities

With the ongoing pandemic and the blockade that occurred during the census count, California officials and community organizations have changed their strategies for contacting communities to spread the word about the census. By knocking on doors and restricting campaigns on the ground, community organizations collaborated with statewide media to find new ways to reach communities that were considered difficult to count.

Just as the state disseminated information about COVID-19 and vaccines through trusted messengers in communities of color, Voice Media worked with black media organizations across the state and created the Mapping Black California (MBC) Census Lab to work on community engagement for a full count.

MBC project manager and head of associations Candice Mays explained that before this project she knew that the census was important and that it was done every 10 years, but this campaign informed her more about how many important decisions are made based on the census count. , as assigned. funding for programs and services within communities.

“The impact of underscoring black communities is that it’s just another way, and probably the most important way, that black people don’t get the services they need in their communities,” Mays said. “And that’s why it’s important that people in black communities contain it because when they’re not counted, the government assumes that fewer people live in one area and, as a result, receive less money.”

The map was designed to “address more effectively the most difficult black population in California with relevant messages than that.” [would] inform, educate, and motivate black people to participate in the 2020 Census. “The map was helpful in helping media partners decide where to disseminate information to black communities and analyze the likelihood of a community participating in the census.

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The California Black Hard-to-Count Map shows hard-to-count stretches and provides details on how many people in the area may be at risk of under-counting (Image courtesy of Mapping Black California).

The team created the California Black Hard-to-Count Map (BLK-CA-HTC) which shows census areas in California that are assigned a Black Hard-to-Count Score over 15 indicators, similar to the factors used by the state. . -to-count index, but recognizes and includes indicators associated with new barriers to counting. Another important difference between MBC and state criteria is the fact that the indicators were measured over a career.

Chuck Bibbs, Digital Director and Maps & Data Lead, explained that the map was designed in anticipation of low black population participation due to several reasons that were measured across the 15 indicators.

Using data from the 2013-2017 U.S. Census Bureau of the U.S. Census Bureau, the team calculated the BLK-CA-HTC score for the 8,057 census areas of California. With the data collected for each of the 15 variables, the variables were ranked from highest to lowest using a high-value scoring system that was assigned to the stretches with the highest black unemployment rates and a zero assigned to the stretches below the black unemployment treatment. of California. median.

Exploitation of specific data for a more strategic dissemination

“The mind behind the data decides how they are used and how they are visualized. And often, the people who are doing data visualizations and who are extracting data for different types of maps and panels don’t look like us,” Mays said. “So it’s not about considering that this group of people should have their own map or that group or that group.”

Mays believes that there were more strategic ways to use data that would benefit communities of color, such as creating different difficult-to-count maps organized by race / ethnicity instead of just a hard-to-count map.

“And by doing just one hard-to-count giant map, you’re assuming that all these racial groups that are considered hard to count or ethnic groups are hard to count by the same factors,” Mays said. he continued. “And that’s not true. And for me, that tells me who was making that map probably didn’t reflect the population.”

According to the Office report, nationwide the black population was underestimated by 3.30%, the Hispanic or Latino population had a 4.99% undercount rate, the American Indian or Alaska Native population had an undercount rate of 5.64%. Comparatively, the white population had an overcount rate of 1.64% and the Asian population a supercount of 2.62%.

McGhee explained that overcrowding can be the result of counting someone in two different places, which can happen if a person or family has multiple residences. Although the PPIC estimated an insufficient count in California in 2019, the census has not yet published a post-enumeration survey for specific states.

Until more data is released on sub-account and over-account estimates for California, Bibbs also explained that she won’t really know how effective the process of creating the BLK-CA-HTC map for targeted messaging was.

Efforts by the state, trusted messengers, and community organizations to reach hard-to-count communities have been met with many difficulties that have forced them to change their outreach and messaging strategies, but McGhee believes the specific efforts these groups have enacted and they planned to make generally good sound. ways to reach hard-to-count communities.

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