WASHINGTON – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) joined Reps. Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Ruben Gallego (AZ-02) and 42 other lawmakers in sending a letter to the Commerce Department and the U.S. Census Bureau expressing concern about the undercount of Latino, Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native populations in the 2020 Census.
“Unfortunately, the Census Bureau data confirms what many of us had suspected and worked hard to prevent; a severe undercount of Latino, Black and American Indian and Alaska Native populations,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Much of this undercount falls on the shoulders of the Trump administration that failed to do its part to ensure all individuals in this country, including immigrants, minority, low-income and tribal members were properly enumerated. And as a result, we have long-term impacts, the potential loss billions of dollars in federal aid to our communities—including right here in Southern Arizona. As we turn the page, I look forward to working with Director Santos to make sure Census outreach efforts align with the needs of the communities. ”
The letter states that without corrective action, the undercounts reflected in the Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) and lack of disaggregated data for Asian populations could grow existing ethnic and socio-economic inequities in areas such as employment, education, housing, and health care.
The Members asked for the Commerce Department and U.S. Census Bureau to develop plans and brief Member offices on the following:
- Plans for assessing the impact of the undercount on the full range of activities for which Census data are used, including federal funding formulas, civil rights enforcement, and other public and private sector use of Census data.
- Efforts to examine and implement approaches to mitigate the impact of the undercount of Latino, Black, and AI/AN populations on the programs and activities for which Census data are used.
- Plans to release state- and county-level information on undercounts of Latino, Black, Asian, and AI/AN populations, as well as national origin data for Asian Americans at all levels.
- Any outreach to states and localities about the availability of existing and planned programs which permit states and localities to request a review that may result in the correction of Census 2020 counts.
- Details of any further research, evaluation, and assessments to understand the specific factors which contributed to the undercount.
- Information about any Bureau plans to evaluate approaches to modernizing the census, and how it will ensure that it assesses the impact of such plans on achieving a fair and accurate count of historically undercounted communities.
The full letter can be found here.
Due to the significant undercount of Latino and Native American populations in Arizona in the 2020 Census, it may have cost Arizona an extra congressional seat and millions of federal dollars for public investments. In Yuma County, Census Bureau data says that Somerton actually lost 90 residents during that time, putting its official population at 14,197 people, not the 20,000 that the mayor expected.
In 2019, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva sent a letter to the U.S. Census Director Dr. Steven Dillingham expressing deep concern over U.S. Census Bureau outreach efforts to ensure that all Arizona residents are counted in the 2020 Census. Among the concerns the Census Bureau did not deliver Census forms to P.O. boxes or provide home delivery options to those in South County, erecting additional barriers for Yuma County residents.