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A tablet with a Census 2020 interview questionnaire on the screen. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

An unusually high rate of questions on the 2020 census went unanswered, according to documents released by the Census Bureau, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Many of the unanswered questions had to do with demographics, the answers to which help governments redraw congressional and state legislative districts, according to a Census Bureau press release.

The big picture: An early estimate suggested that 10-20% of questions on last year's census went unanswered, though the Census Bureau said that later calculations showed the actual rates to be lower, reports AP.

  • Typically 1-3% of questions go unanswered in a census, University of Minnesota demographer Steven Ruggles told AP.
  • The questions residents avoided responding to pertained to "sex, race, Hispanic background, family relationships and age, even when providing a count of the number of people living in the home," notes AP.

What to watch: The 2020 census results will be released on Aug. 12.

  • The release of the data was delayed by COVID-19 and interference by the Trump administration, per NPR.

Go deeper

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

4 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.