The undercount rate for the Latino population was more than three times the rate for this group in 2010, according to census estimates.
Overall, officials estimate that 0.24% of the country’s population, or about 782,000 people, were missed in the count. That margin was not statistically significant, officials said, but undercount rates for certain demographic groups were.
Census Bureau Director Robert Santos acknowledged those concerns Thursday when announcing the undercount analysis, which he said was based on two independent studies to gauge the quality of the 2020 count.
For some groups, undercount rates have increased
Officials said undercount rates for other groups were significant, but statistically similar to earlier findings. The undercount rate for the black population was 3.3%, while the undercount rate for Native American and Alaska Native populations living on reservations was 5.64%.
Other groups were overcounted in the 2020 census, according to estimates. The overcoverage rate for the non-Hispanic white population was 1.64%, while the overcoverage rate for the Asian population was 2.62%.
Lawyer calls results ‘completely unacceptable’
News of the Latino population undercount drew strong criticism from Arturo Vargas, CEO of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, who described the 2020 census as a “fire in five alarms”.
“A 2020 census that more than tripled the percentage of undercounted Latinos from the 2010 census is totally unacceptable and further demonstrates the urgent need for our nation to make fundamental changes to how we count residents. Americans,” Vargas said in a statement.
Santos said the quality of the total population count is “robust and consistent with that of recent censuses,” which he called “remarkable” given the challenges the 2020 count faced.
“Taking today’s results as a whole, we believe the 2020 census data is suitable for many uses in decision-making, as well as for painting a vivid portrait of our nation’s population. Yes , there are areas of concern, and we will explore those further,” Santos said.