Since the 2020 Census count ended in mid-October, the U.S. Census Bureau has been working to process the data it collected. That’s a trying endeavor during a pandemic and in the midst of a presidential election year.
The bureau, which usually sticks to a timeline for collecting, processing and presenting the data, said late last month that everything is subject to change.
“Projected dates are fluid,” a Dec. 30 statement from the bureau reads.
Initially scheduled to report population data for congressional reapportionment efforts to President Donald Trump on or around Dec. 31, the Bureau now says it is still working on processing that data, according to NPR.
“We continue to process the data collected and plan to deliver a complete and accurate state population count for apportionment in early 2021, as close to the statutory deadline as possible,” the bureau said in a statement.
What’s the hold up?
In December, internal documents released by the House Oversight and Reform Committee revealed errors in more than 900,000 records nationwide.
Citing more irregularities, U.S. Justice Department attorney John Coghlan told a federal judge Monday that the first chunk of state population data is now expected to be released Feb. 9 for congressional reapportionment efforts.
BREAKING: As of Dec. 29, the Census Bureau’s expected release date for the 1st set of 2020 census results is Feb. 9 & may be pushed back further bc of newly discovered irregularities in the census records, DOJ attorney John Coghlan tells a federal judge during a court conference
— Hansi Lo Wang (@hansilowang) January 4, 2021
What that means
While the bureau works to address the errors, its new projected reporting date of Feb. 9 is three weeks after President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office, giving him, not Trump, control of the new numbers.
This would be a blow to Trump’s months-long plan to effectively remove undocumented immigrants from the count used for reapportionment.
The impact on Pennsylvania
For states such as Pennsylvania, which is projected to lose a congressional seat with the next reapportionment, any exclusions or inclusions to the count could have myriad consequences, from funding for schools, to hospitals, roadways and representation.
While the information currently available is limited, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 99.9 percent of Pennsylvania households have been counted in the 2020 census.