Concerns over possible undercount of Arizona Latinos in 2020 census

Aug 20, 2021, 4:45 AM
FILE – In this Aug. 15, 2012, file photo, a line of people living in the U.S. without legal p...
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2012, file photo, a line of people living in the U.S. without legal permission wait outside the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles. According to figures released in late June, 2015, by the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic Californians began to narrowly outnumber white Californians sometime in the first half of 2014. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

PHOENIX — The latest 2020 census data shows a growth in Arizona’s Latino population, but some question the accuracy of the count.

More than 2.1 million Latinos now live in Arizona, an increase of about 300,000 from a decade ago. They make up about 31% of the state’s population and an even larger share of the state’s youth population at nearly 44%.

“While the Census Bureau did yeoman’s work in trying to get its job done, the challenges were so great that I cannot but suspect that there was an undercount of Latinos,” Arturo Vargas, chief executive officer of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund said.

He added Arizona did not gain a congressional seat like expected in part because of the possible undercount of Latinos.

Vargas believes the failed attempts by the Trump administration to get a citizenship question on the census form kept some Latinos from filling it out.

A survey his group conducted in late 2019 found a large portion of Latinos thought the citizenship question made it to the census form, even though the U.S. Supreme Court blocked it.

Vargas said the attempts to include the citizenship question coupled with the coronavirus pandemic created challenges for the Census Bureau in its efforts to get everyone counted.

He hopes the post-enumeration survey will show if there was indeed an undercount of the Latino population in Arizona and other states.

The post-enumeration survey measures the accuracy of the census by estimating how many people and housing units were missed or counted erroneously.

The first round of results will be released in the first quarter of 2022 and more results in the summer of that year.

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Concerns over possible undercount of Arizona Latinos in 2020 census