Abrupt Change to 2020 Census Deadline Could Lead to Miscalculations
Errors are already expected in Black, Latino Communities
Census experts and advocates warn that the Trump administration’s decision to end the decennial count a month earlier than expected will result in a dramatic undercount of Black and Latino communities across the country, which could have grave effects on federal funding and political representation in their neighborhoods.
They point in particular to alarmingly low response rates in places such as the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and the Bronx in New York, where the coronavirus pandemic had already interrupted outreach in some of the country’s hardest-to-count census tracts. National nonprofits and community activists are putting together urgent persuasion campaigns in an attempt to cram three months of work into two — driving through neighborhoods with bullhorns taped to vehicles, pouring funds into geotagged digital advertising, and phone-banking.
“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and they might be shortchanging every Latino community for 10 years to come. This is cruel,” said Lizette Escobedo, who leads the census program for NALEO Educational Fund, a nonpartisan Latino rights organization.
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