14 states, including Utah, were overcounted or undercounted in 2020 census, survey finds

A pamphlet with 2020 census information is included with a box of food distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank on August 27, 2020. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

May 21 (UPI) — The 2020 census undercounted residents in six states and overcounted those in eight others, a Census Bureau report released Thursday indicates.

The overcounted states were Hawaii (by 6.79%), Delaware (5.45%), Rhode Island (5.05%), Minnesota (3.84%), New York (3.44%), Utah (2.59%), Massachusetts (2.24%) and Ohio (1.49%).

The largest undercount was in Arkansas (5.04%), followed by Texas (4.78%), Mississippi (4.11%), Florida (3.48%), Illinois (1.97%) and Texas (1.92%).

Despite these inaccuracies, Census Bureau Director Robert Santos said the 2020 population count was “robust and consistent with that of recent censuses.”

He said a follow-up survey conducted to measure the census’ accuracy — the Post-Enumeration Survey — helps the bureau understand how well it did counting everyone living in each state. Since it’s impossible to have a 100% true count, the follow-up survey also represents an estimate.

“Achieving an accurate count for all 50 states and D.C. is always a difficult endeavor, and these results suggest it was difficult again in 2020, particularly given the unprecedented challenges we faced,” Santos said.

“We know there is still more work to do in planning future censuses to ensure equitable coverage across the United States and we are working to overcome any and all obstacles to achieve that goal.”

The PES found that 37 states didn’t have statistically significant undercounts or overcounts, while 14 did.

On the whole, there was an estimated undercount of 1.85% in the South and 1.71% overcount in the Northeast.

“These results give us valuable insight as we plan operations and allocate resources for the 2030 Census,” Santos said.


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