Black Americans are roughly twice as likely as their white counterparts to express doubts about participating in the 2020 census, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center released Friday.
A combined 26% of Black respondents said in the survey that they might not, probably would not, or definitely would not participate in the 2020 census. Twenty-one percent of Hispanics said the same, compared to 12% of white Americans. (The survey results may actually understate Americans’ skepticism: The kinds of people most likely to have doubts about answering the Census are probably also less likely to participate in surveys like this one.)
People who make less than $30,000 a year were also more likely than higher-earning Americans to express doubts about participating in the census.
Overall, 84% of Americans said they definitely or probably would participate in the decennial survey, which is used to draw political boundaries and allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds. But the disparities among racial groups in the remaining 16% percent underscores the challenge the Census Bureau faces in getting as accurate a count of people in the United States as possible.
“This research is consistent with prior and ongoing research, and confirms the monumental task before the Census Bureau and the nation,” Arturo Vargas, CEO of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, said in an email.
“Fortunately, research shows that if Latinos and other people of color learn how important being counted is to the distribution of public funding for everything from education, health care to infrastructure, they are more likely to want to be counted,” he added. “This is the message we will be emphasizing.”