The 2020 Census could see the worst undercount of black and Latinx people in 30 years, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.
The big picture: The 2020 Census is already facing “unprecedented challenges and threats to its accuracy” as a result of demographic changes, underfunding, and complex and undertested process changes. That’s not to mention the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question, which will likely have a chilling effect on responses regardless of whether or not it’s upheld by the Supreme Court this month.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has defended the citizenship question as necessary to enhance the 1965 Voting Rights Act, despite the Census Bureau’s own analysis that it could scare households with non-citizens into low response rates.
- A 2015 study conducted by a now-deceased GOP gerrymandering strategist concluded that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census would “clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats” and “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites,” according to court documents filed in a legal challenge.
- That strategist went on to help write a draft Justice Department letter that argued the question was essential to enforce the Voting Rights Act, the same defense that Ross and the Trump administration have used.