When we talk about the importance of the Census, we often talk about power and money. We use the Census counts to distribute political power and allocate funding for everything from highway spending to programs like Medicare and Head Start.But the Census is more than just that. It is the backbone of virtually every data product researchers, governments, and businesses use to understand who we are, how we’ve changed, and what this might mean for the future. It’s also the most democratic and inclusive activity we do as a country. This once-a-decade count is the only source of basic demographic data on all individuals living in the United States.
Counting everyone who lives in the United States—and counting them accurately—is really hard to do. In 2010, the overall census count was highly accurate, but certain populations were undercounted, meaning they were missed in the census totals. Renters, black men, American Indians living on reservations, and Hispanics were among the groups with higher rates of undercount in 2010. But the highest rate of undercount was for young children ages 0 to 4.
We’re here today to answer any questions you have about the Census and and how researchers use Census data in their work. We are:
Beth Jarosz, (datageekb) a Senior Research Associate in U.S. Programs at the Population Reference Bureau, which has a lot of great resources about the US 2020 Census, including a FAQ, a guide to how the Census counts people who have more than one address (like college students!!) and a preview of the upcoming Census.
Ask us anything!