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ABOUT THE CENSUS

Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution requires that all residents be counted through a nationwide census. Census data is used for political representation at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as to determine what communities receive private and public funding. How accurate the 2020 Census is can affect many critical decisions.

The 2020 Census will have a wide-ranging and long-term impact on the future of Massachusetts. To learn more about the impact check out Census 2020, Explained: How it Works and What's at Stake for Massachusetts, a recent report co-released by Boston Indicators and Mass Census Equity Fund.

Below is a list of historically undercounted communities and barriers to an accurate 2020 Census count.

 

The 2020 Census will face new barriers reaching those in historically undercounted communities:

Government Underfunding of 2020 Census

This Census is likely to be one of the most underfunded census counts in history, making it even more difficult to provide key resources to reach residents across the Commonwealth.


Citizenship Question

The attempted addition of the citizenship question has already impacted communities and has the potential to reduce accuracy in already undercounted communities.


Climate of Fear

The current political climate could depress response rates from populations in undercounted communities.


Technology

The 2020 census is the first largely digital census count, making it more difficult for those who do not have access to the internet and also raises concerns around cyber security.

 

HISTORICALLY THE FOLLOWING COMMUNITIES HAVE BEEN UNDERCOUNTED IN THE CENSUS:

  • Urban and rural areas with large low-income populations

  • People of color

  • Immigrants, including undocumented residents of the Commonwealth

  • Non-English speakers

  • Migrant workers

  • Formerly incarcerated people

  • Young children

  • The elderly

  • People with disabilities

  • Renters

  • Those experiencing homelessness

  • Members of the LGBTQ community

  • Persons living in mobile homes or multi-unit residences

 

"HARDEST TO COUNT" CENSUS TRACTS

Check out the map below to see which Massachusetts communities had the lowest response rates in the 2010 Census and might be at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census.

CONTACT THE MASSACHUSETTS CENSUS EQUITY FUND

Katie Campbell Simons

Project Consultant

masscensusfund@accessstrategies.org