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Many California Communities Will Be Hard To Count For 2020 Census

Tuesday is the final day for public comment on census questions

The sun sets over downtown Los Angeles skyline with the snow covered mountain...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: The sun sets over downtown Los Angeles skyline with the snow covered mountains behind it, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013.

Many California Communities Will Be Hard To Count For 2020 Census

GUEST:

Christopher Wilson, associate director, Alliance San Diego

Transcript

As the 2020 census approaches, California officials are confronting the possibility, or the likelihood, that their population will be undercounted.

Census undercounts occur when people don't fill out and return the forms the Census Bureau sends them. The Census Bureau predicts 17 percent of San Diego County's census tracts will be "very hard to count" due to low response rates.

In Imperial County, 43 percent of the census tracts are considered very hard to count.

Tess Thorman is a researcher with the Public Policy Institute of California, which created a California map that reflects the census predictions.

Thorman said census tracts fall into the "very hard to count" category if at least 29 percent of households there are expected to be unresponsive to the census forms.

Some racial minority groups, children and renters are likely to be undercounted, she said.

"In the 2020 census housing will be a major issue. There are a lot of people with the housing crisis living in overcrowded rental housing. People in mobile homes tend to be undercounted," she said.

Thorman added that undercounts have very real consequences.

"On the federal scale it will impact the number of representatives California will have in the federal government as well as funding over the next 10 years," she said.

RELATED: California Urges Resistance To Census Citizenship Question

Thorman said the Census Bureau will follow up with in-person visits if forms are not returned. Also, local governments and nonprofits run programs to better ensure census counts are correct.

Tuesday is the final day to submit public comment on the 2020 Census questions, including the controversial citizenship question.

As the 2020 census approaches, California officials are confronting the possibility that their population will be undercounted.

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