2020 Census Undercounted Hispanic Americans At Triple The Rate Of 2010

Workers of the organization Make the Road New York attend a Census training meeting in Queens on March 13, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

The 2020 U.S. census undercounted the Hispanic or Latino population at triple the rate that it did in 2010, according to analyses of the decennial survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau Thursday. 

The official count of the Hispanic or Latino population was roughly 5% lower than the actual number of Hispanic or Latino Americans living in the country — up from a roughly 1.5% undercount in 2010, according to Census Bureau estimates.

Other minority groups, including Black Americans and American Indian and Alaska Natives living on reservations, were also undercounted by 3.3% and 5.6%, respectively, according to the study. Those rates of undercounting did not increase by a statistically significant level since 2010, the Bureau noted. 

On the other hand, the non-Hispanic white and Asian populations were over-counted, according to the Census Bureau. 

In a news conference Thursday to discuss the analyses, Census officials noted several challenges in the 2020 count, including the COVID-19 pandemic and several natural disasters. 

The Census faced numerous political challenges during the Trump administration as well, most prominently an effort — blocked by courts — to add a citizenship question to the survey. That was part of a larger conservative effort to minimize the political power of undocumented immigrants and of diverse and often Democratic cities. Separately, the Trump administration cut short the data collection period for the 2020 census, ending it two weeks earlier than the Bureau had planned.

Overall, the 2020 census numbers are accurate enough to use, Census Director Rob Santos said Thursday. 

“Taking today’s findings as a whole, we believe the 2020 Census data are fit for many uses in decision-making as well as for painting a vivid portrait of our nation’s people,” Santos said. 

“We’ll be exploring the under- and overcounts further. That is part of our due diligence, our pursuit of excellence, and our service to the country.”

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