Electoral Maps Change in a Growingly Diverse Nation
The Census Bureau released its most comprehensive picture yet of how the United States has evolved over the last decade, revealing a wealth of demographic data that will be used to redraw electoral maps throughout a more diverse nation.
The Census Bureau released its most comprehensive picture yet of how the United States has evolved over the last decade on Thursday, revealing a wealth of demographic data that will be used to redraw electoral maps throughout a nation that is becoming more diverse.
As the census results are released, they are sure to spark a heated political struggle for representation when the country is deeply divided, and battles over voting rights are being fought.
The statistics may have a role in determining control of the United States House of Representatives in the 2022 elections and could give an electoral advantage for the following decade.
The information will also influence the distribution of the federal government's $1.5 trillion in annual expenditures.
The statistics indicate that migration to the South and Southwest has persisted and that the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia have had population declines.
In addition, the statistics show that the white population is aging and has shrunk to its lowest proportion of the overall population on record. Still, there are notable outliers, as seen in the chart below.
The proportion of white people increased in coastal towns in the Carolinas and Virginia and counties across the midsections of Georgia and Alabama's states.
The population of people under the age of 18 is becoming more diverse.
To compile the statistics, tens of millions of Americans filled out census forms last year, with the assistance of census takers and government statisticians to fill in the gaps when the forms weren't returned, or questions were left unanswered.
Individuals have made numerous choices during the last ten years, including whether or not to have children, whether or not to relocate to another area of the nation, and whether or not to immigrate to the United States from another country.
States will have the opportunity to redraw their electoral districts for the first time due to the release, which is anticipated to be especially brutal given the stakes in control of Congress and state legislatures.
The census also offers the first glimpse, on a limited scale, into the extent to which the Census Bureau achieved its objective of counting every resident of the United States during what many believe to be the most challenging once every ten years census in recent memory.
It was already under threat from attempted political intervention by the Trump administration, which failed in its attempts to add a citizenship question to the census form, a move that opponents believed would have an adverse impact on the participation of immigrants and Hispanics in the census.
The Supreme Court intervened and put an end to the attempt.
However, due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is now expected to be delivered by the end of April rather than the end of March as originally planned.
The commencement of the 2020 census for the vast majority of inhabitants of the United States coincided with the spread of the coronavirus last year, causing the Census Bureau to postpone operations and lengthen the count's timetable as a result.
According to the Centers for Disease, because census data is linked to where individuals were on April 1, 2020, the figures will not represent the loss of approximately 620,000 persons in the United States who died due to COVID-19.
In addition to the pandemic, census takers in the West dealt with wildfires, while Louisiana had to struggle with recurrent storms.
Then there were the legal fights over the Trump administration's attempt to stop the count early, which caused the timetable for completing field operations to be altered on a number of occasions.
In April, the Census Bureau published state population totals from the 2020 census, used to determine how many congressional seats each state will get in the next Congress.
"Certainly, the epidemic had a significant part, but we must not forget the political involvement we witnessed," said Terry Ao Minnis, an official with the advocacy organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice. "We must not forget the political meddling we witnessed," she said.
"I believe we can all agree that everything has had a role in whether individuals engaged or not, whether it was due to fear of participation or just uncertainty over, 'Who is at my door?'," says the author.
Communities of color have historically been underrepresented in censuses.
The Census Bureau will most likely not know how well it performed until next year when it publishes a study that shows undercounts and overcounts in the population.
However, the publication on Thursday will enable academics to do a first quality check, and it may result in litigation claiming that the figures are erroneous.
Even though the Census Bureau has a mechanism that enables elected officials to dispute the data, it does not apply to apportionment or redistricting decisions.
According to Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, "this is our first chance to discover whether there is any evidence of an extraordinary undercount" (MALDEF).
"There is always an undercount. It is unavoidable.
This census will be no different, but we worry that the undercounting does not become much out of proportion to the undercounting that has occurred in previous censuses."
Because of the Census Bureau's new privacy technique, the figures will not be completely accurate at the most localized geographic areas for the first time in history.
To safeguard people's identities in the age of Big Data, the technique introduces controlled mistakes into the data at local geographic levels, such as neighborhood blocks.
Mr. Ron Jarmin, the acting director of the Census Bureau, has cautioned that the method may yield unexpected findings, such as blocks with children but no adults or housing units with a population that does not correspond to the number of people living in them.
Census shows the US more diverse than ever as white population declines