Two analyses of the US Census found that the nation's official head count may have left out nearly two million Black Americans.
The findings, reported by The Washington Post, don't have the official numbers released by the US Census Bureau but if their estimates are right, it would mean Black people were undercounted at a rate three time higher than in 2010, the impact of which would be far-reaching and felt in the next decade.
Data scientists ran a simulation comparing the estimates–– not the official numbers ––the Bureau released to assess the accuracy of the 2020 Census. They found that, compared to 2010, Black children may have been undercounted at a rate 10 times higher.
"This might be our greatest undercount since 1960, or 1950," Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, told The Post. Last year, Morial sued the US Census Bureau in order to stop them from closing the count early.
Given the challenges 2020 presented with the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and the Trump administration's attempt to add a citizenship question to the survey, experts were worried about the numbers and potential undercounts.
"It was a perfect storm for an undercount on multiple levels," Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan told The Post. She said many people of color and people in low income neighborhoods are already reluctant to answer the survey so the challenges just made things worse.
"I'm hopeful that the official numbers are not as low as the ones the analysts are putting out, but the numbers we've seen from these analysts are disturbing."
Why Does it Matter?
There are programs funded by the federal government that are based on the size of the population.
Those programs include SNAP, Medicaid and Medicare, Section 8 housing vouchers, Head Start, and even highway planning and construction.
Without an accurate head count, fair –– and accurate –– representation in government could be on the line, too as state and federal funding, resources for communities, is sometimes based off how many people live in a particular area.
For more information on the Census, please click here.