Jul 21, 2022 - World

Dems push Census Bureau to better address undercounted communities

Illustration of a hand making marks on a census paper
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic members of Congress are pushing the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure communities undercounted in the 2020 survey get the federal funding they need.

Why it matters: Latinos were omitted from the 2020 census at a rate more than three times higher than in the 2010 census.

  • Many Black and Native American communities were also undercounted.
  • Census data is used to determine how the government funds schools, infrastructure and communities. It also determines the number of Congressional seats.

Driving the news: Several members of Congress met behind closed doors on Tuesday with Census representatives at the request of Reps. Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who in April spearheaded a letter asking for more information on the impacts of the undercount.

  • Sánchez tells Axios Latino she’s concerned about a lack of coordination to mitigate the impact on undercounted communities.
  • Sánchez stressed that while she and her colleagues understand the Census faced extenuating circumstances for the count in 2020, including the pandemic, natural disasters and political interference, they hope the bureau addresses concerns more quickly.

What to watch: The bureau has said that local, state and tribal authorities can ask for reviews and revised counts with a one-time special process. The window for those requests opened last month and will end in June 2023.

  • The agency did not respond to Axios' request for comment, but Robert Santos, confirmed last year as the first Latino director of the Census Bureau, said in April the bureau will strengthen door-to-door contacts to try and increase participation and remedy the gaps.

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