Who Rigged the Census?
Category: Op/EdVia: vic-eldred • one month ago • 70 comments
By: The Editorial Board (WSJ)
Well, well. Remember how Democrats accused the Trump Administration of trying to rig the 2020 Census? Now a Census Bureau study reveals that Republican-leaning states may have been hurt by mistaken under-counts.
On Thursday the bureau published the results of its post-enumeration analysis, which it does after every Census to identify errors in the count. Its study found that 14 states were over- or under-counted by statistically significant margins. Compare that to 2010 when the bureau's post-hoc analysis found that all the state population counts were more or less accurate.
States with large over-counts include Hawaii (6.8%), Delaware (5.5%), Rhode Island (5.1%), Minnesota (3.8%), New York (3.4%), Utah (2.6%), Massachusetts (2.2%) and Ohio (1.5%). Those under-counted by big margins include Arkansas (5%), Tennessee (4.8%), Mississippi (4.1%), Florida (3.5%), Illinois (2%) and Texas (1.9%).
Texas was under-counted by about 570,000 people while New York was over-counted by 695,000. That’s a lot of people. Yet the findings aren’t shocking. We noted last spring when the results from the reapportionment were announced that the Census counts diverged sharply from the bureau’s 2020 population estimates in many of these states.
The inaccuracies may have cost Florida and Texas an additional House seat and given Rhode Island and Minnesota one they shouldn’t have received. New York might have also lost another House seat if the Census were more accurate. So how did the bureau get the counts so wrong? The bureau blames the pandemic.
But recall that progressives in autumn 2020 sued to kick the reapportionment into the Biden Administration. By law the Census was supposed to be complete by Dec. 31. Yet Democrats claimed that bureaucrats needed more time to do post-survey accuracy checks. They got their way. Whatever accuracy checks the bureau used, they evidently failed.
This week’s report notes that over-counts were partly due to people or census workers filling out duplicate surveys. For households that didn’t respond to the survey, bureaucrats imputed how many people live at an address using other government data such as welfare benefits or literally their best hunch. Surprise—they often guessed wrong.
Progressives say that Democratic states simply worked harder to increase Census response rates. That’s no doubt true. But they also fanned conspiracy theories that the Trump Administration was trying to reduce minority survey responses to deny federal benefits. This may have had a motivating effect as voter suppression accusations sometimes do.
It’s too late to change the reapportionment, but the Administration should take the new data into account in federal funding formulas. If Republicans take control of the House, an oversight investigation into the Census seems warranted.