The first results of the 2020 Census are about to drop, after encountering so many obstacles that some census experts privately joked that it was cursed.
Over the past four years, the decennial count was hit with funding shortages, partisan interference, legal battles and a pandemic that paralyzed it just as it was getting started, spawning new political and legal battles.
When the initial data — a tally of each state’s population that determines a decade’s worth of congressional apportionment and electoral college votes — comes out next week,and when more detailed data on race, income and geography comes out this summer,they will be scrutinized by statisticians, politicians and civil rights advocates, many of whom worry the setbacks could result in less accurate results than in previous decades.
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Excerpt from NCoC’s Denice Ross:
The news has not been all bad for the 2020 count. For the first time, people could fill it out online, an operation that went smoothly despite initial fears of hacks or glitches.
And compared with past decennial counts, “this decade was the most transparent on record,” said Denice Ross, a senior fellow the nonprofit group National Conference on Citizenship, noting that self-response data was released daily during the count and census officials blogged about the process.