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GAO Finds Census Bureau Faces Challenges to Ensure Accurate Count of Minorities for 2020 Census

Aug 28, 2018
Press Release

 Washington, D.C. (Aug. 28, 2018)—Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the Census Bureau’s efforts to include hard-to-count groups, such as minorities, renters, and young children for the 2020 Census:

“The undercounting of minority populations in the Census denies African Americans and other minority groups fair representation, and the Census Bureau needs to improve its efforts to effectively count every person to ensure a fair and accurate census.”

Cummings and Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) requested this report in 2017 to evaluate the Census Bureau’s plans.  GAO found that while the Census Bureau is planning to increase its efforts to include hard-to-count groups, it still faces significant challenges:

  • Minorities, young children, and renters are more likely to be missed, while other groups—such as those who may own a second, seasonal home—are more likely to be counted more than once.

  • With less than two years remaining before Census Day, significant planning is underway, but the Census Bureau is not scheduled to test all of its hard-to-count operations, and it remains to be seen how the forthcoming design may interact with other related operations and systems.

  • GAO recommends that the Secretary of Commerce ensure that the Director of the Census Bureau take steps to ensure that its efforts on hard-to-count populations are integrated across the Bureau’s decentralized operations.

Click here to read GAO’s report.

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115th Congress