Saturday, March 12, 2022


National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial

 National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial today called the 2020 Census undercount of Black, Latino, and American Indian residents “outrageous” and urged the Census Bureau to address the crisis with all due urgency.

“These numbers are devastating.” Morial said of the 3.3% undercount of the Black population. “Compounded by yet another overcount of the white population, this will have devastating consequences for communities of color.”

Not only was the 2020 Black undercount alarmingly worse than the 2010 undercount of 2%, Morial said, the percent of the Black population omitted in 2020 -- that is, completely missed -- grew from 9.3% in 2010 (4 million) to 10.2% of the Black population omitted or missed.  

“The Census Bureau must rethink and explore more accurate measures of the undercount and develop new data collection methodologies and operations for diverse populations,” Morial said.  “Racial inequities are baked into the history of the Census process and the institution of the Census Bureau as an agency.  To uphold the Constitutional promise and protection of equal representation for all,  the Census Bureau must immediately take steps to rethink and detoxify its operations relative to racial inequities, and Congress must fund research into new operations and sources of data starting next year.  

The National Urban League shared its concerns about Census operations earlier this month with Census Bureau Director Robert Santos, the Congressional Black Caucus and President Biden. Morial said he would reiterate the warnings considering the data released today.

“More granular data reflecting 2020 Census undercount measurement and coverage are needed beyond today’s report and upcoming state level data planned for release this summer,” Morial said. “Local and state leaders need more detailed information to understand where the gaps are and how to re-allocate federal funding to where the needs exist.”  

  • Among the National Urban League’s recommendations are:
    Broadened opportunities for cities, counties, tribes to challenge their census counts using additional data sets at the local level, such as school enrollment numbers, along with technical assistance to help localities through the challenge process.
  • An end to the use of overcounted non-Hispanic Whites to determine the undercount for Black and other populations of color, which obscures the actual number of historically undercounted populations omitted in the Census. 
  • More "equity-based" research and design of census surveys that address the essential causes of the differential undercount, while using applications and scientific techniques that are sensitive to the methodological needs of an increasingly diverse society.
  • Congressional Hearings on the 2020 Census to identify the magnitude of operational and methodological shortcomings regarding populations of color.

Morial added, “The Census Bureau must prioritize President Biden's executive order on racial inclusion to correct the enduring legacy of employment discrimination and underrepesentation in the federal workforce--not only in senior level positions for African Americans, but in mission critical positions responsible for census research and design.”


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