Feb. 25, 2020
Report Addresses Arizona's Hard-to-Count Population in 2020 Census
TUCSON, Ariz. — A new report by a University of Arizona researcher addresses Arizona's "hard to count" population and what it could mean for the state in the 2020 U.S. census.
The report, titled "Toward an Accurate Census: Estimates of Arizona's Hard-to-Count Population in Census 2020," is available on the Census 20/20 website at Census2020now.org. It is written by Jason Jurjevich, an associate professor of practice in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona.
Arizona is traditionally a state with a high hard-to-count, or HTC, population. In the 2010 census, only 77.6% of Arizona households mailed back their census form, ranking Arizona's census participation at 38th across the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Using past census household non-participation rates as a proxy for the HTC population, Jurjevich's report provides detailed range estimates of Arizona's 2020 census HTC population, by county, under three scenarios. Assuming no change from the state's 2010 census participation rate, there could be 1,604,700 HTC Arizonans in the 2020 census. A significant decline in 2020 census participation means there could be as many as 1,845,400 HTC Arizonans.
The impact of a census undercount can affect everything from Arizona's political representation in Washington, D.C., to the flow of federal dollars to Arizona to fund social service programs, transportation infrastructure projects and the state's three universities, among other areas.
Undercount Could Cost Arizonans
For decades, a significant limitation of conducting the decennial census is that it has often excluded certain individuals, yielding an undercount. Individuals at risk of not being counted in the census are referred to as "hard-to-count" populations. These individuals include young children, individuals of color, non-English speakers, rural residents, immigrants, non-citizens, low-income persons, renters, the homeless and others.