A top official from the U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday that the agency will be looking at possible adjustments to its annual population estimates in order to account for undercounts of certain minority groups in 2020 census numbers.
The Census Bureau’s technical research team is studying the possibility of changing the numbers to reflect undercounts from 2020. These undercounts provide a basis for future population estimates and are therefore not included in future estimates. Karen Battle, chief of its population division, stated that the Bureau’s technical research team is currently looking into the feasibility of doing so.
These population estimates are used to distribute federal funds and measure demographic changes over the time period between the once-a decade censuses. The 2020 census data used to determine how many seats each state receives in Congress and the numbers used to redraw political districts cannot be changed.
Battle stated that the bureau is considering the possibility of making “additional improvement in the future” during a briefing with civil rights groups, cities, counties, and tribes who had sued the Trump administration’s Department of Commerce for the 2020 once-in-a-decade headcount. The Census Bureau is overseen by the Commerce Department.
The 2020 census missed 0.24% of the total U.S. population, but some groups were more overlooked than in the past decade. 3.3% of Blacks were not counted, 4.3% of Hispanics were not counted, and 5.6% of American Indians who live on reservations were not counted.
The 2020 census overcounted the Asian population by 2.6%, while whites who were not Hispanic residents were overcounted 0.6%
In the first months of the Biden administration, the Department of Commerce settled the suit with the coalition of cities and counties, tribes, and civil rights groups.
The settlement stipulated that the Census Bureau would hold periodic updates about the quality of census data. This included the Tuesday briefing. Two-week extensions were required for the 2020 count due to the lawsuit. The coalition claimed that a shorter schedule would result in Latinos, Asian Americans, and immigrants being left out of the 2020 count.