Report Documents Challenges to Successful Census in the Gulf Coast and Texas Colonias

Categories: Census, News

Despite increased attention to the unique challenges faced by these regions, there were still a number of problems that hampered 2010 Census operations in the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, and the Texas Colonias, according to a new Leadership Conference Education Fund report.

“The Hard Count: A Community Perspective on 2010 Census Operations in the Gulf Coast and Texas Colonias,” is a follow-up to a 2009 report that explained the unique challenges that the Census Bureau would face counting in these areas. It documents the experience of national and community-based organizations that conducted census public education and outreach in some of the hardest-to-count areas of the country.

“During the last two censuses, the Census Bureau missed counting millions of people – mostly minorities and low-income people – and overcounted millions of people – mostly wealthy and non-minority,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Education Fund. “Any census count that misses the most vulnerable in our society and, at the same time, overcounts those who are already advantaged, raises serious civil rights concerns – concerns about equal treatment under the law and equal access to economic opportunity.”

Specific concerns highlighted in the report include:

  • people not receiving census forms in the mail as expected;
  • inadequate communication and consultation by census officials with local groups and leaders; and
  • too few census enumerators and Partnership Program staff with who could speak languages other than English or were culturally sensitive to the communities in which they were working.

The report also offers a number of recommendations to the Census Bureau and Congress that will inform planning and preparation for a more successful 2020 Census.