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The Census Is Broken

Determining if AI can fix it

Getting a census count wrong can cost communities big. A March 10 report from the US Census Bureau showed an overcount of white and Asian people and an undercount of people who identify as Black, Hispanic or Latino, or multiracial in 2020, a failure that has led to renewed calls to modernize the census.

Progress reaching historically undercounted groups has been slow, and the stakes are high. The once-a-decade endeavor informs the distribution of federal tax dollars and apportions members of the House of Representatives for each state, potentially redrawing the political map. According to emails obtained through a records request, Trump administration officials interfered in the population count to produce outcomes beneficial to Republicans, but problems with the census go back much further.

The U.S. Census Bureau began its latest effort to modernize the population count in 2010, largely through automation and technology. According to a summarization of approaches that influenced the 2020 census, part of the goal was to keep costs comparable to 2010 levels, at about $12 billion. Despite millions more people to count, the U.S. Census Bureau almost halved the number of people hired for door-to-door visits—350,000 people were deployed in 2020, down from 516,000 in 2010.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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