For the 2020 census, not all states were counted equally well in the population numbers used to allocate political representation and federal funds over the next decade, according to a report from the US Census Bureau. published on Thursday.
A follow-up survey the bureau conducted to gauge the accuracy of the national count found significant net undercount rates in six states: Arkansas (5.04%), Florida (3.48%), Illinois (1.97%), Mississippi (4.11%), Tennessee (4.78%). %) and Texas (1.92%).
It also found significant net overcount rates in eight states: Delaware (5.45%), Hawaii (6.79%), Massachusetts (2.24%), Minnesota (3.84%), New York (3.44%). ), Ohio (1.49%), Rhode Island. (5.05%) and Utah (2.59%).
For the other 36 states besides Washington, DC, the bureau found no statistically significant net overcounting or undercounting rates.
These revelations come after population totals from a census beset by the coronavirus pandemic and years of interference from the administration of former President Donald Trump have already been used to hand out seats in the House of Representatives, as well as votes in the College. Electoral, for the next decade.
During a news conference Wednesday, bureau officials stressed that the tracking poll estimates, which were delayed in large part because of the pandemic, will not change each state’s representation share in the House or Electoral College. .
The Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that statistical sampling, which would be necessary to account for states’ overcounting or undercounting rates, cannot be used to produce the census data to redistrict Congress.
Last year, the Secretary of the House certified the new participation of each state in the seats of the Chamber based on 2020 population counts.
The bureau, however, plans to use these estimates from its Post-Enumeration Survey in planning for the 2030 census that is already underway.
“It’s a monumental task to count everyone. And this helps us report how well we’re doing,” Timothy Kennel, deputy division chief for statistical methods, said during the briefing.
The bureau has been under pressure to release more quality metrics.
Kennel, who led the design of the follow-up survey, said the new results were “in line with previous censuses” that had overcounts and undercounts across multiple states.
Still, the 2020 results contrast sharply with the findings of the bureau’s follow-up survey for the 2010 census, which had no statistically significant overcounts or undercounts for any state.
Concerned about the impact of COVID-19 and interference from Trump administration officials, many state and local officials, civil rights groups and other census stakeholders have been pushing for more quality metrics from the bureau.
Past counts have shown that census participation and the quality of the final numbers can vary widely across neighborhoods and demographic groups.
In March, the bureau released tracking survey results that showed significant national net undercount rates for Black and Latino people, as well as Native Americans living on reservations. The bureau also found significant net national overcount rates for white people who do not identify as Hispanic and Asian-Americans.
However, the statistical agency is not expected to publish statewide overcounting or undercounting rates by race and ethnicity or any rates for counties, cities or towns.
“We’re interested in producing the highest quality estimates that people can trust. And we have to meet our standards, and we really can’t say anything below the state level,” Kennel said, noting that plans for the office for the 2020 count did not include the production of more detailed metrics as it had in the past.
To try to ameliorate the effects of overcounts and undercounts, the office has created an internal team that he plans to investigate how to factor the results of the follow-up survey into the bureau’s population estimates, which, along with census data, help guide the distribution of an estimated $1.5 billion a year in federal money to local communities.