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2020 census undercounted Black people, Latinos, Native Americans

The 2020 census missed about one in every 20 Hispanic people in the country, according to estimates the Census Bureau released Thursday, following a count rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and Trump administration decisions.

Black, Hispanic and Native American residents as well as young children also were undercounted in the census, which double counted the white population, the Census Bureau found through its post-enumeration survey. Experts have said census misses will impact the distribution of the more than $1.5 trillion federal funds distributed annually that use census results.

Overall, the census counted within 0.25 percent of the country’s estimated 331 million people.

Census Bureau Director Robert Santos said many communities faced significant challenges due to the pandemic. Former President Donald Trump’s effort to add a citizenship question to the form also may have affected the count, he said.

“All of the publicity surrounding the efforts to place it on [the form] may well have had an impact, and so I am personally not surprised to see the results that we see today,” Santos said during a news conference Thursday.

Santos argued that despite the inaccuracies highlighted by agency reports released Thursday, the data was still fit for many uses — such as determining redistricting and congressional seats. He said the overall population count was “robust and consistent” with past counts.

Santos, who identifies as Latino, is the agency’s first director from a minority community. He was confirmed as director last year.

Outside experts and the agency’s own research previously raised concerns about accurately counting the Hispanic population after Trump tried for years to add the citizenship question. He later cut counting short as part of an effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from apportionment results.

Several states with high Hispanic populations, including Texas, Florida and Arizona, received fewer congressional districts in apportionment than projected.

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