Census to Halt Operations a Month Early Amid Growing Fears of a Population Undercount

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Bureau has confirmed it will wrap up its count a month early. It's a move that many fear could reduce the accuracy of the population. Tout NPR national correspondent has alone. Juan broke this story last week, and the bureau confirmed it last night in hand. The census happens as we know every 10 years. The end date was initially postponed until late October because of the pandemic. Now the bureau is saying that it will wrap up on September 30th. What reasons has the sense is given According to a statement, the Census Bureau director Stephen Dealing Ham posted on the sense sphere is website last night. The Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, has directed the bureau to speed up counting to end it cut it short a month early in order to meet current legal deadline. There's a deadline set by federal fall, it says the Census Bureau via the Commerce secretary has to present to the president the latest state pop. Elation counts by December 31st of this year, and those are the numbers that are used to redistribute seats in Congress among the states, and that was a deadline The bureau had said in April that it could no longer meet because of the pandemic needed more time has asked Congress to give it more time by extending the deadline into 2021. Sir from Congress has not extend that deadline. Democrats have introduced legislation, but Republicans have not regarding those deadlines. And so the Commerce secretary apparently is saying it is time to make this change to make sure we can meet that deadline. Okay, let's break this down a little bit. NPR first reported that the agency had decided to cut short door knocking efforts. What is the impact, though of finishing early like this and what populations Could be most impacted by an undercount. One thing to keep in mind here is that you know, through all this back and forth career officials from the Census Bureau, including associate director for the 2020 cents is an associate director for field operations has publicly stated that the bureau as early as May, they've said, can no longer meet this federal deadline of December 31st And by rushing to do it at this point by not continue to count through October 30 1st there are concerns here that there would be great and accuracy and the data that are collected because we're at a point in the senses, with roughly four out of 10 households that have not yet responded to the senses, those four out of 10 whole household's roughly our representative of historically under counter groups who are Less likely to respond on the census around their own and are really probably only get counted if a door knocker gets to meet them and tries to essentially convinced them to do an in person interview outside their home for about five minutes, trying to collect that information and otherwise the bureau if it rides up, finding homes that are vacant or or seemed to be vacant or unresponsive here has to rely on government records and That way of rely on government records using statistical methods The bear has used before, but the bureau might have to use it at a much, much greater extent. And that could really hurt theocracy because those methods tend to over represent the white population while under representing people of color. Yeah, as we know, the Trump administration tried last year to get a citizenship question added to the census. The Supreme Court rejected that attempt. How does this week's news that the census will wrap up early fit into the bigger picture? I mean, the question everyone is asking is, Is this change? Politically motivated? You know, I've been covering the 2020 cents is all the lead up to it for three more than three years now, and it has been a Siri's Of attempts by the Trump administration to have a very direct hand and how the senses is carried out to be very clear. There is no citizenship question on the 2020 cents is, even though the Trump Administration tried very hard to get one onto the forms, and that on now, you know, just just recently Last Last month, President Trump released a presidential memo calling for unauthorized immigrants to be excluded. From the census numbers used to redistribute seats in Congress. Even though the Constitution says the counting of the whole number of persons in each state that's the that's how that's the people that should be counted nor determine how many states how many seats in Congress each state gets. So this latest move here a lot of Democrats a lot of sense its advocates, given what career officials have said about the need for more time or really questioning. Why is there this push to not extend counting and what happens with Congress? That's NPR's national correspondent. Hotsy Low long hands. Thank you so much for joining us. You're welcome, Tanya.

Coming up next