Early End to the Census Could Have Huge Effect on Latinos
The census deadline is October 15 rather than the initial planned date of October 31.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could immediately stop gathering information in the field for the 2020 census, which had its original deadline extended because of the coronavirus pandemic. A lower court's order had previously said it should continue until October 31, to make up for time lost, but now it will halt on Thursday, October 15.
"I wasn't shocked, but I was disappointed and I was frustrated," Lizette Escobedo, director of the National Census Program at NALEO, told NBC News. "This administration has done so much to block a full enumeration."
The census is conducted every 10 years and is required by the Constitution, and determines the number of seats in the House of Representatives and electoral college votes that each state gets. It also determines where an estimated $1.5 trillion a year in federal tax dollars for health care, education, and other public services will go, according to George Washington University.
According to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Latinos — especially Latino children — have been undercounted for decades. The group estimates that one in three Latinos in the United States live in communities traditionally considered hard to count. In terms of the census, "hard to count" categories often include renters, young people, and people of color.
A study done by the Urban Institute found that the 2020 census faced hiring shortfalls and lacked "a predictable and adequate funding stream" necessary to produce "as accurate a count as possible." "Regardless of your political leanings, a bad census hurts everyone," Beth Lynk, director of the Census Counts Campaign, told NBC News. "For the Latino community in particular, we know that there's so many changing demographics and such a growing population. We cannot afford a skewed or inaccurate portrait of our country because it threatens to erase the beautiful diversity within our country, particularly within the Latino community."