Were Latinos Undercounted in the 2020 Census?

A New Report from the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY Tracks the Latino Population Growth in the Country, and the Results Differ Significantly from the Census Bureau Estimates.

Contact:

E-mail: clacls@gc.cuny.edu

NEW YORK, June 1, 2022—The Graduate Center of The City University of New York’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) has released a report on the population growth of Latinos in the United States using the newly-released 2020 data, and the differ dramatically from those published by the Census Bureau.

The report, titled “Were Latinos Undercounted in the 2020 Census? An Assessment of Latino Demographic Data from 2010 through 2020,” examines the growth rates among the Latino population from 2010 until 2020, investigated in detail for the whole country and four major cities with high Latino concentrations—Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and Houston. It uses population growth rates calculated from the raw data found in the American Community Survey (ACS) five-year files for each year between 2010 and 2019 and 2015 to 2019 to project ‘assumed’ population totals for 2020.

These data indicate that the Latino population of the U.S. was undercounted in 2020 by 0.8% using the growth rates between 2010 and 2019 to project the 2020 Latino population: and 0.4% using the rate between 2015 and 2019. This is significantly lower than the 4.99% estimated by the Census Bureau using a different methodology.

For Los Angeles the Latino undercount was estimated at 1.4% using the population growth rates between 2010 and 2019 and 1.0% using the growth rate derived from the 2015–19 data.

For New York City the Latino undercount was estimated at 1.8% using the population growth rate between 2010 and 2019 and 1.1% using the growth rate derived from the 2015–19 data.

For Miami the Latino undercount was estimated at 1.0% using the population growth rate between 2010 and 2019 and 1.4% using the growth rate derived from the 2015–19 data.

For Houston the Latino undercount was estimated at 3.9% using the population growth rate between 2010 and 2019 and 2.7% using the growth rate derived from the 2015–19 data.

There is no way to statistically determine why the Houston, Texas undercount was significantly higher than in the other three cities or the whole United States.

While these results are hypothetical and are estimates, they are nevertheless suggestive of probable inaccuracy in the estimate of a 2020 4.99% Latino undercount indicated by the Census Bureau. That figure was also an estimate.

Contact Sebastián Villamizar-Santamaría, Director of Quantitative Research, for a PDF of the report at svillamizarsantamaria@gradcenter.cuny.edu.

About The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

The core mission of CLACLS is to actively support and advance the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S. in the doctoral programs of The Graduate Center, and to provide opportunities for Latino students at the Ph.D. level. CLACLS’s flagship program is the Latino Data Project, established in 2003 by Laird W. Bergad founding and current CLACLS director. Bergad is a distinguished professor in the Department of Latin American, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at Lehman College and with the Ph.D. Program in History at The Graduate Center. The Latino Data Project conducts detailed quantitative research on the Latino population of the United States and New York City metropolitan region, analyzing raw data files produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies.

About The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, and initiatives, including its Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.

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