Where’s the count? An update on the status of the 2020 Census

By: - January 5, 2021 1:56 pm

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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. 

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. 

Census 2020: Pa. is expected to lose a seat in Congress. Here’s why that’s a huge deal

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.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared. Follow her on Twitter: @Wordsby_CassieM.

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