Participation Rates Of The 2020 Census


There have been numerous debates regarding the accuracy of the 2020 Census data since the initial drop on Monday. This has largely been brought about due to New York losing a seat in Congress by only 89 people and states like Arizona, which were expected to gain representation didn’t. Plus, states like Florida and Texas were expected to gain more than they did. 

The question becomes whether the estimators were wrong or whether the common narrative, that response rates were low due to the pandemic and hesitancy by minorities, has merit. 

The Census Bureau has been clear that they have confidence in their numbers. After all, they show enumerated results for 99.9% of the country. That’s after 67% of American households “self-responded”. That means the other 32.9% were enumerated through follow-up. 

In Florida, we were below the national average with 63.8% self-reporting. So, is it possible that’s why Florida didn’t gain a second seat in Congress and an Electoral College vote? While there might be some truth to the concerns, the narrative doesn’t fit a different dynamic occurring last year.

The Census “self-respond” rate was 66.5% in 2010. That means self-response rates were actually a half-point higher year compared to the prior decade’s survey. In Florida, it was a similar story. The self-response rate in Florida was 63% in both the 2000 and 2010 Census surveys. That means the self-response rate in Florida actually increased by .8% over the prior two surveys with an improvement in the rate of participation that exceeded the national average. 

With this additional information in mind, it’s understandable why the Census Bureau has as much confidence in their data as they’ve stated. It’s better than what they had to work with ten years ago. 

Photo by: Getty Images


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