As the 2020 census approaches, states are allocating budgets to make sure that their residents are counted, but some states more so than others.
California, the most populous state with nearly 40 million residents, has prepared a $187 million campaign that includes a heavy use of data analytics and nonprofit partners. The goal is to identify areas where residents are less likely to complete a census questionnaire, and send outreach their way. Most outreach will be done online. But for California’s many rural areas, canvassers will be on the ground at local events.
Census counting has long been a political battle. States that can demonstrate population increases are given more representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, and more federal subsidies. Census often results in highly competitive district lines being redrawn locally.
More and more people are being counted as technology gets more efficient and outreach more sophisticated. Still, the census counts routinely miss significant portions of the population, often in low-income neighborhoods.
In places such as Hidalgo County, Texas, it is suspected that more than 100,000 people may go uncounted. The state has not budgeted any funding for census outreach, leaving non-government groups scrambling to take up the task. A bill to commit $50 million, barely a quarter of California’s budget, failed to pass in the state Senate. Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the U.S. adding more than 1,000 new residents daily. It is behind only California with an estimated 29 million residents.
Read the full New York Times article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/15/us/census-california-texas-undercount.html