The Census Bureau Sued over Minority Undercount

Kendall Chappell, News Editor

On March 28,  the NAACP and Prince George’s County sued the Census Bureau due to under-count of minorities. Prince George’s County had the highest under-count in Maryland with 2.3% and one of the highest in the country.

The census is used for a variety of commercial purposes, which include redistricting, county funding, and marketing for companies. Which Prince George’s County having an under count of minorities, this likely means there is a general under count as well, which would mean the county gets less money than it should. According to the Census website, “the 2010 Census under-counted 2.1 percent of the black population,” and “1.5 percent of the Hispanic population.”

The lawsuit includes how both of switching to technology for the count and cancelling field tests (due to a decrease in funding) will cause an even greater under-count than before. Furthermore, according to The Hill, the NAACP is asking in the case that the census be given appropriate funding to prepare for 2020.According a news article in The Baltimore Sun, the census received $2.8 billion in funding, though Wilbur Ross, the U.S. commerce secretary, has said the 2020 census will cost $15.6 billion.

According to the NAACP website, Prince George’s County executive Rushern L. Baker III explained that “An accurate census count is critical to the federal funding, political representation, and operations of Prince George’s County.” He continues that, “on behalf of the 900,000 residents of Prince George’s County, I am proud that we are standing and fighting alongside the NAACP to make sure our County gets treated fairly and equally under the law. A vast majority of the residents of Prince George’s County are members of this nation’s historically disenfranchised populations. We cannot let this continue in 2018, 2020, or any year moving forward.”

Students and teachers were asked about how they felt about the under-count of minorities in our county.

Mr. Scott Sorenson, government teacher, said he believes the under-count in Prince George’s county “is ironic since the headquarters are in Suitland.” He continues, “You would think you would want to make sure the county that you are located in is accurately counted.”

He further believes that there are “numerous places to lay blame. This includes the both the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce.”

Senior Claudia Carter says she doesn’t “believe suing is a viable solution.” Instead, she says “change needs to be made with the officials who are in place … Suing takes funds but it doesn’t replace the geniuses running the corrupt system.”

It is a common scenario for over-counts towards homeowners and Caucasian people, and under-counts of minorities, as well as the poor, the young, and immigrants.