Latino Response to the 2020 Census is Alarmingly Low

Credit: BELatina/BrandStar

One of the biggest fears of the organizations for the rights of the Hispanic community seems to be coming true.

According to The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), a new analysis of the 2020 Census has shown that Latino populations have “lower self-response rates” than the national average, including Puerto Rico, where less than 20 percent of residents have responded to the 2020 Census.

In partnership with NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, NALEO has released figures collected over the past few weeks that show that rates in states with large Latino populations such as Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, New York, and Texas, “are lagging behind.”

“We know that during the economic turmoil brought on by COVID-19, Census Bureau operational changes, and misinformation around the census, Latinos continue to have lower self-response rates than the general population,” NALEO Educational Fund CEO Arturo Vargas said in a statement.

The new analysis of NALEO in these six respective states shows rates of 57.9 percent in Arizona, 62.4 percent in California, 58.6 percent in Florida, 49.8 percent in New Mexico, 56.6 percent in New York and 56.1 percent in Texas.  

“As the self-response rates in these highly populated states affect the national average of 61.4 percent, there are several indicators that Latino self-response rates are lower, and that the higher the Latino share of a population, the lower the total self-response rate is for that location,” the organization explained in an email.

In addition, Puerto Rico, although outside the continental United States, currently has a self-response rate of 18.9 percent, and counties in the United States with Latino populations of 75 percent or more tend to be the least counted.

An accurate count of Latinos, one of the largest groups of people in the U.S., is important for determining necessary funding for critical community services, said Christina Kolbjornsen, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises senior vice president of corporate and external affairs.

“Now, more than ever, it is our responsibility to continue engaging and informing not only the Latino community but all others at risk of being miscounted on the importance of completing the 2020 Census,” she said in a statement.

Both NALEO and the polling form Latino Decisions have been at the forefront of the campaign to increase community participation in the count, especially after the Trump Administration’s efforts last year to include a citizenship question on the paper.

Once the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, the fears of these organizations increased, not only because of the pressure of immigration agencies on our community, but also because of the hindrance of the process in general.

That is why, as the country resumes “normal” activity, both NALEO and NBCUniversal have joined forces in Telemundo’s Get Counted campaign, originally launched in March 2019, which transformed June 17 into a Day of Action.

Between virtual town halls and toll-free phone lines, the organizations offer all the necessary information, in English and Spanish, for our community to assert its rights and be counted.

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