Reviews of 2020 census data show undercounts of some demographic groups, overcounts of others
Written by Joe Warminsky
The 2020 census produced a total count of the US population that was generally in line with expectations, according to two official reviews released Thursday, but there were undercounts of several demographic groups.
The census “undercounted the black or African American population, the Native American or Alaska Native population living on reservation, the Hispanic or Latino population, and people who reported being of another race,” said the Census Bureau said Thursday. “On the other hand, the 2020 census overestimated the non-Hispanic white population and the Asian population.”
The 2020 count – dubbed by officials as the first “online census” – faced numerous strains on its IT infrastructure, in addition to challenges from a global pandemic, natural disasters and lockdowns within the Trump administration, including efforts to add a citizenship question and stop the count early. Among the new technologies was an iPhone app that surveyors used when trying to count the homeless population.
The black or African American population count had an undercount of about 3.3%; the undercount for the Hispanic or Latino population was nearly 5%, and the Native American or Alaska Native population living on reservations had an undercount of about 5.6%, the bureau said.
During this time, there was an overcount of the non-Hispanic white population of more than 1.6% and an overcount of the Asian population of about 2.6%. “The Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander population was neither overestimated nor underestimated based on the results,” the office said.
The reviews were the Post-Census Survey, which “estimates the population using a sample survey”, and the Demographic Analysis, which “estimates the population using civil registration and ‘other data’.
The census counted “323.2 million people who lived in dwellings as of April 1, 2020,” the office said.
The bureau will release more detailed information on the 2020 tally later this year, including detailed breakdowns by state.