Civil Rights Leaders Sound Off On US Census Undercount Of Black People

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Civil rights leaders are continuing to raise awareness about the 2020 US Census and its severe undercount of Black, Latino, and Indigenous people.

Data from the US Census Bureau shows that two years ago, the census overlooked historically oppressed groups at a higher percentage than in 2010. The Bureau also found that with the exception of Asian Americans, these other groups of color were more undercounted while white people were overcounted –– which has wide-reaching implications from resource distribution to congressional district maps for the next 10 years.

"These numbers are devastating," National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial told reporters. "Once again, we see an overcount of white Americans and an undercount of Black and Hispanic Americans. I want to express in the strongest possible terms our outrage."

In 2020, the Black population had a net undercount of 3.3% while Hispanic Americans saw a nearly 5% undercount and American Indians and Native Alaskans saw an undercount rate of 5.6%. Conversely, white people were overcounted at 1.6% and Asian Americans had an overcount rate of 2.6%, one report found.

Overall, the 2020 Census missed 0.24% of the entire US population while it missed 0.1% in 2010.

The 2020 Census was conducted during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and end of Donald Trump's presidency, which Morial and other civil rights advocates say played a role in the outcome.

If you remember, Trump attempted to get a question about citizenship on the Census, which was ultimately blocked by the court system. But, the stigma around even the possibility, some experts say, contributed to fears around filling out the Census.

Pandemic-related unemployment and housing insecurity also added to that impact.

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