We’re reporting Census data all wrong

We’re reporting Census data all wrong

Boston Indicators
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Luc Schuster, Director
Boston Indicators, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Traditional reporting of census data may be contributing to misleading findings about actual demographic change.

Census data on race and ethnicity are invaluable for understanding who we are as a region and how we’re changing over time. Invaluable, yes. But also imperfect. Headlines during the census count last year focused on challenges facing Census Bureau workers during a pandemic and on the Trump administration’s efforts to depress the count in certain areas. But the physical count isn’t the only problem. While back-end reporting changes for the 2020 Census in some ways help us see more clearly who we are as a multiracial, multiethnic nation, other changes have led to misleading findings about actual demographic change. These challenges are compounded by traditional reporting approaches used by researchers like us that have tended to not include all people who select a given race on their census form.

Fortunately, alternatives exist for painting a more accurate picture. These judgment calls make an especially large difference for Boston’s White, Black, and Native American populations, as shown in the graph below, but the traditional reporting approach skews other race totals as well. Traditional reporting of 2020 census data understates Boston’s Black population by almost 43,000 residents…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,