As the 2010 Census continues, civil rights advocates are hearing reports of significant problems affecting hard-to-count communities in the Gulf Coast, Mississippi, and Texas regions.
While the national participation rate for mailed-in census forms is 72 percent, it is only 64 percent in Louisiana, 67 percent in Mississippi, and 69 percent in Texas. In a letter to Rep. Lacy Clay, D. Mo., 30 local, regional, and national civil rights organizations, including The Leadership Conference, called on Congress to hold a field hearing aimed at addressing the below average census response rates in these areas.
Issues raised by the groups include:
- households and communities not receiving census forms;
- language barriers due to a shortage of bilingual or culturally appropriate census staff;
- ineffective communication with community leaders in the Colonias along the Texas and Mexico border.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund has partnered with four national civil rights organizations to encourage census participation among hard-to-count populations in 13 key areas around the country.