Latino Advocates Vow to Prevent a Repeat of 2020 Census Undercount
Friday, May 6, 2022
Latino civil rights groups are pressing for changes to make up for a significant undercount in the 2020 Census.
The most recent findings show the 2020 Census undercounted the Latino population nationwide, by almost 5%, more than three times the undercount from 2010.
Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the undercount could mean less money for dozens of programs benefiting children and young adults in California, including Medi-Cal and Cal Fresh.
"The federal funding implicates things like education, child care services, transportation, parks, health care," Saenz outlined. "There isn't really a federal program or even state and local decision-making that is not going to be affected by an undercount in the census."
Less funding for programs also affects hunger in the state. A report out this month from Nourish California and the California Immigrant Policy Center said 45% of the state's undocumented residents are dealing with food insecurity.
Saenz also wants to see rules put in place to prevent political interference with the census. The Trump administration tried to add a question about citizenship to the census, a question Saenz argued was designed specifically to trigger lower response rates from the Latino community.
"And even though many of those efforts were stopped in court, the public attention to them clearly had an impact," Saenz asserted. "The Latino community will suffer as a result of that undercount, over the course of the next decade."
The pandemic also made it much harder to obtain an accurate count, because many people had to move after losing their jobs. A UCLA study found in Los Angeles, a census undercount disproportionately affects certain demographics: people who are renters, who are Hispanic or Asian, and who are low-income or foreign-born.
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