LOS ANGELES—On August 18, the University of California, Los Angeles, published a report explaining that the 2020 Census will undercount specific groups, such as immigrants, low-income citizens, and people of color.

Paul Ong, a co-author of the report and director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs stated:

“It is highly likely and unfortunate that the 2020 Census will be flawed with severe undercounts of people of color and low-income individuals. At this juncture, it is critically important to start developing methods to adjust the counts to develop a more accurate statistical picture of America and its people.”

The report indicates the response rates have widened in 2020 compared to 2010. According to the study results, neighborhoods with high concentrations of Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Native American populations show a considerable decline in response rates. The report clarifies, “By August of this year, the estimated median response rates are 69.1% for NH (Non-Hispanic) White, 49.7 % for NH(Non-Hispanic)Black, and 50.1 % for Hispanic. What is particularly decline for Hispanic neighborhoods (down 12.7 percentage points).”

The research displays a low response rate among Hispanic citizens due to stigma and fear of answering a citizenship question on the 2020 census form. The results exhibit that 73.2 percent of response rates from the wealthiest neighborhoods, where only 47.4 percent of response rates come from the poorest districts.

In addition, the study shows that the COVID-19 pandemic influences poverty-stricken neighborhoods. The statement explains the coronavirus crisis rules, like social distancing, did not allow Census workers to ask disadvantaged groups directly about participating in the 2020 Census.

The research was conducted by researchers from the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and Ong & Associates, which used U.S Census Bureau COVID Tracking Project data and updated a previous UCLA report to analyze self-response rates. The researchers inform that the 2020 Census faces the challenge of inaccurate data that is unequally collected across the U.S.