Hard-to-Count Populations

One of the major challenges of any U.S. census is ensuring that everyone gets counted.  Sometimes individuals are excluded or "undercounted." from the census.  These individuals, sometimes referred to as hard-to-count populations, include children, rural residents, individuals of color, immigrants, homeless, and others.

 Image courtesy of  Pixabay  

Image courtesy of Pixabay 

Why are hard-to-count populations undercounted?

According to Dr. William O'Hare, there are multiple reasons why individuals are undercounted.  These include:  home address not included in census address roster, a fear of government and privacy, language issues, complex household relationships, and highly mobile populations with multiple addresses (e.g. renters) (presentation).  

 

What is the census undercount?

The census undercount varies by race/ethnicity, age, housing tenure, immigrant status, and for urban and rural communities.  To provide some context, U.S. Census Bureau reported the following undercounts in Census 2010:

  • Children (ages 0 to 4), -4.6%
    • More than 4 per 100 children, ages 0 to 4
  • Black/African American, -2.1%
    • More than 2 per 100 Black/African-American individuals
  • Black/African American men (ages 30-49), -10.1%
    • More than 10 per 100 Black/African-American men (ages 30-49)
  • Renters, -1.1%
    • More than 1 per 100 renters

What areas of my city/town are more like to be undercounted?

For more information, see this blogpost

 

What resources are available for addressing undercount in Census 2020?

  • The Leadership Conference has great information about hard-to-count populations:
    • Hard to Count: Young Children and Their Communities (PDF)
      • Hard-to-Count State, City, and Congressional District Tables for Children under Age 5 here
    • Will You Count? Latinos in the 2020 Census (PDF
      • View Hard-to-Count State, City, and Congressional District Tables for Latinos here
    • Will You Count? Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) in the 2020 Census (PDF
      • View Hard-to-Count State, City, and Congressional District Tables for Asian Americans and NHPIs here
    • Will You Count? African Americans in the 2020 Census (PDF)
      • View Hard-to-Count State, City, and Congressional District Tables for African Americans here
    • Will You Count? American Indians and Alaska Natives in the 2020 Census (PDF)
      • View Hard-to-Count State, City, and Congressional District Tables for American Indians and Alaska Natives here
  • Resources on immigrants
    • Welcoming America:  How Municipalities Can Improve Census 2020 Accuracy and Address Immigrant Undercount (link)
    • Edward Kissam, "Differential Undercount of Mexican Immigrant Families in the U.S. Census (link)
  • Resources on rural undercount
  • Resources on child undercount
Jason Jurjevich