Aug 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

2020 census has unusually high rate of unanswered questions

A tablet with a Census 2020 interview questionnaire

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.
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