The first batch of census data surprised many. And after?
There were some real surprises in the first batch of data from the country’s 2020 workforce count released this week by the US Census Bureau.
Officials in some Sun Belt states were baffled that they had not won more congressional seats through the allocation numbers used to allocate congressional seats among states. Officials from states like Alabama, Minnesota and Rhode Island were relieved to have kept seats they expected to lose, with some preserving the status quo by the slimmest of margins.
But the 2020 census is far from over. Here’s what to expect over the next few months.
The 2020 census data released this week — the state’s population tally of every resident — was just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come later.
More detailed data on the racial, ethnic, and gender makeup of households, whether they rent or own their homes, and how everyone is connected in their homes, at geographic levels as small as neighborhoods, will be published in August and September.
States use this granular data to redraw congressional and legislative districts in a process that often leads to bitter, drawn-out, partisan fights.
States are in turmoil this year as redistricting data won’t be ready until months after the original March 31 deadline due to the pandemic and the discovery of anomalies that the Census Bureau needed to correct. Twenty-seven states are due to complete redistricting this year.
States with tight deadlines this year have gone to court to extend them, changed deadlines through constitutional amendments and talked about using other data sources. Ohio and Alabama sued the Census Bureau, trying to force the agency to release the redistricting data sooner.
It was my understanding that there would be no math
The biggest task facing the Census Bureau between now and the release of redistricting data in August and September is implementing a controversial new statistical technique to protect the privacy of people who participated in the census. 2020.
The method, known as differential privacy, adds mathematical “noise” or intentional errors to data to mask the identity of a given individual while providing statistically valid information. Opponents say this will result in inaccurate data.
Supported by at least 16 other states, the Alabama lawsuit over the redistricting data timeline also challenges the use of differential privacy.
Census officials say the change is necessary to prevent data miners from matching individuals to confidential details that were anonymized during the mass data release.
The Census Bureau is still tweaking the technique, and this week the bureau said its most recent updates met its criteria for accuracy.
Are the numbers correct?
Experts say it’s too early to pass judgment on the accuracy of distribution figures derived from a tally disputed by the pandemic, hurricanes, wildfires and the Trump administration’s failed attempt to add a matter of citizenship.
Three Sun Belt states with large Latino populations – Arizona, Florida and Texas – fell short of previous estimates, raising concerns among some advocates that Latino communities have been overlooked. .
Census officials say they are confident in the accuracy of the breakdown data and that initial analyzes show the numbers are consistent with what has been seen in the past.
Yet, because of difficulties with the count, the Census Bureau allowed three outside statisticians to review the numbers for accuracy. The researchers announced on Thursday that they would release an initial report in June.
Can a State object?
The Census Bureau allows state, local, or tribal governments to request a review if they believe the numbers are wrong. However, the Census Bureau will not make any changes to the numbers used to allocate congressional seats among states or the redistricting data.
Any changes made after a review would not be applied until 2022, and this would only be useful when it comes to allocating federal funds. States that are unhappy with the apportionment numbers often file lawsuits.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has hinted at legal action after distribution figures were released this week, showing that if 89 more people had been counted in his state, he would not lose a seat in Congress – assuming no other state had more people.
A certain to disappear lawsuit has been filed by Alabama in an attempt to exclude people illegally in the country from dispatch numbers. Alabama claimed it would lose a seat in Congress if undocumented residents were included, but the state defied expectations by retaining its seven seats. Former President Trump issued a directive attempting to do the same, but President Biden rescinded it when he took office in January.