The Census Bureau on Thursday said that data calculated following the 2020 census showed that the Black, Latino and Indigenous populations in the United States were undercounted. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
March 10 (UPI) -- The 2020 census undercounted the Black, Latino and Indigenous populations in the United States, the Census Bureau said Thursday.
While the total census count did not show a significant overcount or undercount amid complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges to a plan to include a citizenship question, the tallies of Black, Latino and Indigenous populations were underrepresented by a greater margin than the previous census in 2010.
"Today's results show statistical evidence that the quality of the 2020 Census total population count is consistent with that of recent censuses. This is notable, given the unprecedented challenges of 2020," Census Bureau Director Robert L. Santos said.
"But the results also include some limitations -- the 2020 Census undercounted many of the same population groups we have historically undercounted, and it overcounted others," Santos said.
Following both a Post-Enumeration Survey and Demographic Analysis, the Latino population saw an undercount rate of 4.99%, up from 1.54% in 2010, while the Indigenous population was undercounted at a rate of 5.64% in 2020 compared to 4.88% in the previous census and the Black population was undercounted by 3.3% up from 2.06% in 2010.
Children aged 0-17 were also undercounted, the Census Bureau said.
In contrast, non-Hispanic Whites were overcounted 1.64%, nearly twice the 2010 rate of 0.83% in 2020, while the Asian population was overcounted by a rate of 2.62% after it was neither overcounted or undercounted in 2010.
The national total showed neither an undercount nor an overcount with an estimated net coverage error of -0.24% -- about 782,000 -- with a standard error of 0.25%.
"Taking today's findings as a whole, we believe the 2020 Census data are fit for many uses in decision-making as well as for painting a vivid portrait of our nation's people," said Santos. "We'll be exploring the under- and overcounts further. That is part of our due diligence, our pursuit of excellence and our service to the country."
Data from the census is used to determine levels of federal funding for public services, as well as how many congressional seats each state receives for the corresponding decade.
Census data released in August showed 204.3 million people identified as White, down from 223.6 million in 2010, an 8.6% decrease, while the Hispanic or Latino population became the most prevalent ethnic group in California for the first time.
In April, the Census Bureau asked for a 120-day delay for 2020 census deadlines in order to aid workers in abiding by social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In late December 2020, it said it did not expect to meet its deadline to produce population counts used to allocate seats in Congress.
Ahead of the count, the bureau also faced a legal battle that ultimately reached the Supreme Court over whether the government could add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The Supreme Court moved to block the question days before federal officials were to begin printing materials.