What Latinos Should Know About 2020 Census

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Are Census Counts Accurate When It Comes to Latinos?
The Census often undercounts certain hard-to-reach populations. These include rural communities, communities of color, immigrants, young children and low- income people. Latinos are frequently undercounted. For example, in 2010, the net undercount rate for young Latinos was 7.1 percent, compared to 4.3 percent for non-Latinos. More than 400,000 Latino children under age four were left uncounted in the 2010 Census.

Why Does the Census Undercount Latinos?
Several characteristics are associated with a Latino undercount, according to the Leadership Conference Education Fund:

• Language barriers, poverty, and low educational attainment require special attention, making the Latino community hard to count.

• Concerns about data confidentiality, due to negative political rhetoric and federal detention, reduce participation in the census among immigrant communities.

• Latino children often live in a household with complex living arrangements in addition to other characteristics that increase risk of being hard-to-count.

Whatever the reasons, an undercount of Latinos has a negative impact on the representation and health of the Latino community.

How Does Census Data Impact Latinos and Political Representation?
U.S. Census Bureau data helps states determine where populations have risen or fallen. This helps adjust congressional district lines so each district has as equal in population to all other congressional districts in a state as possible. Congressional districts for the 113th through 116th sessions, for example, were established by the states based on the result of the 2010 Census. Fair and equitable distribution of political power is critical for Latinos and all Americans to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives.

Should Latinos Be Afraid to Partake in the Census?
No. Due to confusion, distrust, and fears over racism and immigration status, many Latinos are expected to be left out of the 2020 Census. Some estimates suggest the Latino undercount could be up to 12 percent, according to Child Trends. But Latinos do not have to be afraid to fill out the Census questionnaire. The 2020 Census will not include a citizenship question.

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