New evidence disputes Trump administration’s citizenship question rationale

No suprise:

Previously unreleased internal communications indicate the Trump administration tried to add a citizenship question to the census with the goal of affecting congressional apportionment, according to a report issued Wednesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The documents appear to contradict statements made under oath by then-Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who told the committee that the push for a citizenship question was unrelated to apportionment and the reason for adding it was to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

The nearly 500 documents include several drafts of an August 2017 memorandum prepared by a Commerce Department lawyer and political appointee, James Uthmeier, in which he initially warned that using a citizenship question for apportionment would probably be illegal and violate the constitution, the report said.

Source: New evidence disputes Trump administration’s citizenship question rationale

Census 2021 data shows Australians are less religious and more culturally diverse than ever

Canadian diversity data will be released this October. Religion will be included (10 year cycle in contrast to the standard 5 year cycle).

Some of the same trends occurring in Canada:

Australians are increasingly unlikely to worship a god and more likely to come from immigrant families.

The 2021 census has revealed a growing nation — more than 25 million people — that is more diverse than ever.

It also depicts a country undergoing significant cultural changes.

For the first time, fewer than half of Australians identified as Christian, though Christianity remained the nation’s most common religion (declared by 43.9 per cent of the population).

Meanwhile, the number of Australians who said they had no religion rose to 38.9 per cent (from 30.1 per cent in 2016).

The data also shows almost half of Australians had a parent born overseas, and more than a quarter were themselves born overseas.

The census — a national household questionnaire carried out every five years — took place in August last year amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

The nation’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, were in lockdown and residents of regional New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT were about to join them.

Yet Australian Statistician David Gruen said the census was a success despite this challenge, with the household response rate rising to 96.1 per cent from 95.1 per cent five years earlier.

About four in five households submitted their answers online.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will begin publishing census results today and release more data in coming months.

The information helps governments improve their services, and helps researchers and businesses better understand the community.

Beliefs and family traditions are changing

Christianity was the stated religion of about 90 per cent of Australians until 1966, when its dominance began to wane.

The ABS says migration has affected the trends since, though much of the change is due to the growth of atheist and secular beliefs.

The fastest-growing religions, according to the latest census, are Hinduism (2.7 per cent of the population) and Islam (3.2 per cent), though these worshippers remain small minorities.

The 2021 census was also the first to collect data since same-sex marriages were allowed in Australia.

Almost 24,000 of these marriages were officially recorded.

However, marriage itself is becoming less prevalent.

A generation ago (in 1991), 56.1 per cent of Australians aged over 15 were in a registered marriage. That has now dropped to 46.5 per cent.

New Australians are increasingly from India

Australia has long been one of the world’s great immigration nations, accepting more people than most other countries.

Last year, almost half of the population (48.2 per cent) were first or second-generation migrants, having at least one parent born overseas. That compares with 41.1 per cent 30 years ago.

Of the 27.6 per cent of Australians who were themselves born overseas, the most common country of birth was England.

However, India has become the second-most-common source country, overtaking China and New Zealand.

The census also asked Australians to report their “ancestry”, as opposed to their country of birth or ethnicity.

The top responses were English (33 per cent), Australian (29.9 per cent), Irish (9.5 per cent) or Scottish (8.6 per cent), with another 5.5 per cent saying Chinese.

Source: Census 2021 data shows Australians are less religious and more culturally diverse than ever

Biden officials may change how the U.S. defines racial and ethnic groups by 2024

Long overdue:

The Biden administration is taking steps that could change how the U.S. census and federal surveys produce racial and ethnic data that is used for redrawing voting districts, enforcing civil rights protections, policymaking and research.

The multiyear process is likely to carry out long-awaited data policy changes that will particularly affect how Latinos and people of Middle Eastern or North African descent are counted in statistics around the country.

In a blog post released Wednesday, Karin Orvis, U.S. chief statistician within the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the federal agency is starting a new formal review of the government’s standards for statistics about race and ethnicity to help ensure they “better reflect the diversity of the American people.”

The goal, Orvis added, is “completing the revision no later than Summer 2024,” which would be months ahead of the next presidential election and in time for any changes to be incorporated into 2030 census plans.

“I understand the importance of moving quickly and with purpose. It is also important that we get this right,” Orvis said in the post, noting that the process will include gathering input from federal agencies and members of the public.

A little-known part of the federal government, OMB is in charge of determining how the Census Bureau and all other agencies can ask about a person’s racial and ethnic identities, as well as defining the checkboxes found on surveys.

First set in 1977, OMB’s standards for racial and ethnic data were last revised in 1997 and have influenced how surveys across the U.S. generate demographic statistics.

A major overhaul was expected ahead of the 2020 census. But those efforts stalled during former President Donald Trump’s administration despite years of research by the bureausuggesting that certain changes to the standards could improve the accuracy of statistics about Latinos and people with origins in the Middle East or North Africa.

Other proposals included no longer officially allowing the term “Negro” to be used to describe the “Black” category on federal surveys and taking out “Far East” from the standards as a description of a geographic region of origin for people of Asian descent.

Orvis noted that the new review will make use of past research, as well as the work of an earlier working group of career civil servants who were reviewing proposals to allow forms to ask about a person’s Hispanic origins and race in a combined question and to include a checkbox for “Middle Eastern or North African.”

Many Democrats in Congress have been calling for OMB to add a separate category for people of Middle Eastern or North African descent, whom the current standards classify as “White.”

“Federal demographic data does not reflect the realities of MENA individuals and community-based organizations, which makes it increasingly difficult for advocates, researchers, agency officials, and policymakers to communicate, understand, and address community needs,” wrote a group of Democratic members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, the committee’s chair, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan in a letter this week to the head of OMB.

The Biden administration has previously signaled that adding such a category would be a priority. Movement at OMB, however, has been slowed by the delayed confirmation of a new agency director and the hiring of a new chief statistician.

Asked by NPR why OMB decided to start a new review of its standards on racial and ethnic data instead of continuing its earlier review, OMB’s press office did not answer directly and referred instead to Orvis’ blog post.

Source: Biden officials may change how the U.S. defines racial and ethnic groups by 2024

Mora: What can we do about Latino undercount in 2020 census?

More on the undercount:

On Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau released a long-awaited report estimating the 2020 census undercount. Given the challenges of conducting a census in a pandemic, undercounts had been expected by many experts and the report bore them out: The overall total population was deemed accurate, but white people and Asian Americans were overcounted, and other groups were undercounted, especially Latinos. In fact, the undercount rate of Latinos — at 5% — represents a staggering 300% increase compared with the 2010 census.

This is not a new problem. Latinos have been a “hard to count” population for decades. Analysts at the Census Bureau know their counts may miss those who have lower incomes, experience housing instability, speak languages other than English and distrust or fear the government — all qualities present in Latino communities, which include high percentages of immigrants and whose members face discrimination that can lead to economic disadvantage.

But while an undercount may have been expected, a 300% increase is not business as usual. Rather, it is an injustice and the culmination of a calculated attack on the census during Donald Trump’s presidency.

When President Trump was elected, the Census Bureau was in the process of changing the way it tabulates race and ethnicity. Drawing on more than a decade of research and with input from hundreds of civil rights and other organizations, the bureau had decided to allow respondents to identify their race and ethnicity in a “check all that apply” format, and to include among the options Hispanic/Latino and Middle Eastern/North African. The revised format was shown in tests to improve response rates for all groups, and especially for Latinos.

In 2018, Trump and his secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, halted the revision and demanded their own change in the 2020 census forms — a question to determine the citizenship of respondents. A lengthy legal battle ensued, ending in a 2019 ruling siding with Latino advocacy groups who had shown that a citizenship question would disparately affect Latino communities, dramatically depressing their participation and undermining the Constitution’s mandate to count “the whole number of persons in each state.”

The damage was done however. During 2019-2020, we conducted interviews with Latinos in two major metropolitan areas and found widespread distrust of the Trump administration that often led our interviewees to fear completing and submitting their census forms.

And now the result: A significant undercount of Latinos in the statistical base that governs political representation and many other functions of government. The 5% underrepresentation for a Latino population of more than 60 million could translate into at least $3 billion in lost funding for some towns and cities. The impact on political power is as profound. The undercount will likely mean fewer elected advocates for the kind of immigration and economic reforms that are central for Latino communities’ well-being.

In the end, the Trump administration got what it wanted. It undermined a burgeoning minority in the United States, falsifying the size and scale of the population and literally discounting them.

So where do we go from here? First, Robert L. Santos, the new director of the Census Bureau, can immediately adopt the revised race and ethnicity census question format so that all future research — including the interim surveys that supplement the decennial count — will allow Latinos to better identify themselves.

Next, Congress must establish a task force to examine the issue of Census Bureau integrity, with the goal of shielding the decennial count from overt political manipulation. The Trump administration’s behavior proves that we need a set of legislative policies that protect and reinforce the bureau’s independence and scientific goals. The decennial count must never again be held hostage to presidential whims.

Finally, Latino advocacy and community groups must organize with others to petition and pressure state legislators to use the Census Bureau’s adjusted estimates as they set policy in the coming years.

State and congressional redistricting based on the inaccurate count has already happened and can’t be undone, but the adjusted figures can help to combat some of the effects of undercounting on the way funds are allocated.

The nonpartisan work of the Census Bureau can and must be protected. Ultimately, the undercounts in 2020 affected people of color — including those who identify as Latino, Black and American Indian. The errors represent a critical issue for our democracy. They make communities invisible and trigger losses that will be felt for generations to come.

G. Cristina Mora is an associate professor of sociology and the co-director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley. Julie A. Dowling is associate professor of sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She served on the U.S. Census Bureau’s advisory committee on race and ethnicity from 2014 to 2020.

Source: Op-Ed: What can we do about Latino undercount in 2020 census?

New Zealand: Ethnic minorities want ‘crude’ MELAA classification changed for Census 2023

Of note (overly broad category):

Kiwis from minority ethnic communities say census results need to stop lumping them together in the same basket.

Currently, people who are Middle Eastern, Latin American and African are rolled together in one category called MELAA, an acronym of the ethnicities, even though they are from very different demographics.

Dr Diana Albarrán González moved to Aotearoa from Mexico in 2015, and was surprised to find herself in the same ethnic category as people from Lebanon or Somalia.

“When I first arrived, I was confused about MELAA because there is a lot of diversity within that classification, said González, who is a deputy director of design at Auckland University.

“Africa for example is a huge continent and diverse within that continent. Then you have the Middle East, and again, they have their own histories, and their own cultural backgrounds, and then the same within the Latin American community here in New Zealand.”

González said the MELAA classification was incorrectly homogenising minority ethnic groups.

“It’s important to have numbers and a register of the population, but when those numbers become policies to improve health or employment outcomes, this ethnicity classification is not serving us.”

Dr Matthew Farry​ identifies as a Lebanese New Zealander, and said the MELAA category reduced a “huge” amount of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity.

”The reason they’ve put us together is we’re all non-white European ethnic groups. It lumps people of colour into one category, when the only thing we have in common is that we’re all non-European in our origins.

“I’m a third-generation New Zealander whose parents are Lebanese ethnically. We always used to get upset because there was never anything in the census that said Lebanese, when we’ve been here for 130 years.”

Farry is executive director of the Courageous Conversation South Pacific institute, which works to improve race relations in Aotearoa.

The number of MELAA people in New Zealand is statistically small – at the 2018 census there were just 70,330, representing 1.5 per cent of the country’s population.

A Census NZ spokesperson said people were able to provide their actual ethnicity on the census form, which meant statistical data could be provided for different ethnicities within MELAA.

“MELAA was established to give more prominence to these ethnicities in statistical reporting as a level one (the highest level) statistical grouping, in the same way there is a statistical grouping for European, Pacific Peoples, Asian.

“It is currently used in output data where the focus is not looking at ethnicity in detail, but in combination with other detailed concepts, or when a high-level overview is most appropriate.

“The majority of core census outputs on ethnicity that Stats NZ produces are available at more detailed levels of the classification.”

Farry said the experience of MELAA communities echoed how Māori had been treated in a colonial setting.

“Their stories were suppressed, their histories suppressed, they were dispossessed. That set up a New Zealand that doesn’t deal with racial, ethnic and cultural diversity very well.

“So when we come here, we enter an already single narrative New Zealand and symptomatic of that, is MELAA. It is a reduction that doesn’t enrich me.”

Justin Benn​ said the MELAA classification was “crude”.

Benn, who is president of the West Indian and Caribbean society in New Zealand, moved here in 2011 after growing up in London with a family from Trinidad and Tobago.

“I am from the Caribbean community,” he said. “It’s different from coming from Africa or the Middle East or Latin America.”

Benn added that the classification “weakened a sense of inclusion”.

“It communicates a disregard that is probably not intentional, but it does need addressing. If we’re looking at opportunities to be more inclusive, here is a clear example of how we can do that.”

Guled Mire, a community advocate and public policy specialist whose family fled Somalia as refugees, said the ethnicity classification should be updated immediately.

“Statistics population data is really essential for public policy,” he said. “That is information that is used to then plan, develop and implement public policy measures.

“If we’re not recording and classifying ethnicity data for some of our most vulnerable communities in a way that is appropriate, that harms us in terms of how government is able to respond to our needs.

“We have asked for this to be changed for years.”

Stats NZ ran public consultation in 2019 to seek feedback on the classification of ethnic groups, the Census NZ spokesperson said.

“The MELAA grouping was highlighted as an area of concern for a number of people. Stats NZ has recently commenced a review of the Ethnicity NZ Standard Classification. The MELAA issue will be considered as part of this ongoing review.”

Any changes made as a result of the review will not be implemented until after Census 2023.

Source: Ethnic minorities want ‘crude’ MELAA classification changed for Census 2023

The 2020 census had big undercounts of Black people, Latinos and Native Americans

More on the census and undercounts:

The 2020 census continued a longstanding trend of undercounting Black people, Latinos and Native Americans, while overcounting people who identified as white and not Latino, according to estimates from a report the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday.

Latinos — with a net undercount rate of 4.99% — were left out of the 2020 census at more than three times the rate of a decade earlier.

Among Native Americans living on reservations (5.64%) and Black people (3.30%), the net undercount rates were numerically higher but not statistically different from the 2010 rates.

People who identified as white and not Latino were overcounted at a net rate of 1.64%, almost double the rate in 2010. Asian Americans were also overcounted (2.62%). The bureau said based on its estimates, it’s unclear how well the 2020 tally counted Pacific Islanders.

The long-awaited findings came from a follow-up survey the bureau conductedto measure the accuracy of the latest head count of people living in the U.S., which is used to redistribute political representation and federal funding across the country for the next 10 years.

Other estimates the bureau released on Thursday revealed that the most recent census followed another long-running trend of undercounting young children under age 5.

COVID and Trump administration meddling hurt the count’s accuracy

While the bureau’s stated goal is to “count everyone once, only once, and in the right place,” miscounts have come with every census. Some people are counted more than once at different addresses, driving overcounts, while U.S. residents missing from the census fuel undercounting.

Disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic and interference by former President Donald Trump’s administration raised alarms about the increased risk of the once-a-decade tally missing swaths of the country’s population. COVID-19 also caused multiple delays to the bureau’s Post-Enumeration Surveythat’s used to determine how accurate the census results are and inform planning for the next national count in 2030.

During the news conference announcing the follow-up survey results, Census Bureau Director Robert Santos — who, before becoming the agency’s head, told Bloomberg CityLab that he believed the census was “being sabotaged” during the Trump administration to produce results that benefit Republicans — acknowledged “an unprecedented set of challenges” facing the bureau over the last couple of years.

“Many of you, including myself, voiced concerns. How could anyone not be concerned? These findings will put some of those concerns to rest and leave others for further exploration,” Santos, a Biden administration appointee, said during the news conference announcing the follow-up survey results.

The bureau said previously that it believes the census results are “fit to use” for reallocating each state’s share of congressional seats and Electoral College votes, as well as redrawing voting districts.

Census numbers are also used to guide the distribution of an estimated $1.5 trillion each year in federal money to communities for health care, education, transportation and other public services. Some tribal, state and local officials are considering ways of challenging the results for potential corrections that would be factored into future funding decisions.

The report the bureau released on Thursday only provided a national-level look at the count’s accuracy, and the agency says it’s planning to release state-level metrics this summer.

“There are a lot more states for us to check and review and look through,” said Timothy Kennel, assistant division chief for statistical methods, during a webinar before Thursday’s release.

Civil rights groups are looking for remedies

Still, these national-level metrics resurfaced concerns among civil rights organizations and other census watchers who have warned for years about the risk of racial gaps in the census numbers leading to inequitable allocations of political power and federal money.

In response to the bureau reporting that American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations continued to have the highest net undercount rate among racial and ethnic groups, Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said the results “confirm our worst fears.”

“Every undercounted household and individual in our communities means lost funding and resources that are desperately needed to address the significant disparities we face,” added Sharp, who is also the vice president of the Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Wash., in a statement.

Marc Morial, the president and CEO of the National Urban League, which led a federal lawsuit in 2020 to try to stop Trump officials from cutting counting efforts short, said the group’s lawyers are considering returning to court to try to secure a remedy.

“We’ve talked about voter suppression. Now we see population suppression,” Morial said on a call with reporters. “And when you tie them together, it is the poisonous tree of seeking to diminish the distribution of power in this nation on a fair and equitable basis.”

Other longtime census watchers see this moment as a chance to reimagine what the next count in 2030 could look like

Arturo Vargas, CEO of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, said the next census should be taken in a “much more modern and effective way” to address the persistent undercounting of Latinos and other people of color.

“This whole notion of coming up with a master address file and mailing everybody an invitation to participate and hoping that they respond, and if they don’t, you go knock on their doors, that’s an obsolete way now of counting the U.S. population. We need a better way. I don’t have the answer to what that better way is, but I want to work with the Census Bureau to figure it out,” Vargas added.

In addition to looking ahead to the next decade, Vargas noted a more immediate concern: how to improve the annual population estimates that the bureau produces using 2020 census data and that states and local communities rely on to get their shares of federal funding.

Asked by NPR if there are any plans to factor the new over and undercounting rates into those estimates, Karen Battle, chief of the bureau’s population division, replied the agency is “taking steps in that direction.”

“But we have to do research so that we can understand whether or not we can do that,” Battle said.

Source: The 2020 census had big undercounts of Black people, Latinos and Native Americans

Why it’s hard to know how accurate the 2020 census was

Of interest:

No census in the U.S. has been perfect.

Exactly how imperfect the national head count was in 2020 may start to be revealed in a report the Census Bureau is set to release Thursday.

While the 2020 census may now seem like a distant memory, any confirmed over or undercounts carry both near and long-term implications on how political representation and federal money are distributed in the United States.

Disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic, historic hurricane and wildfire seasons and years of interference by former President Donald Trump’s administration made it especially difficult for the bureau to try to count every person living in the country. These extraordinary challenges have also made it harder to pinpoint the tally’s accuracy.

For the next decade, any census errors would be baked into the data used to reallocate each state’s share of congressional seats and Electoral College votes; redraw voting districts for every level of government; help distribute an estimated $1.5 trillion a year in federal funds for public services; and form the country’s understanding of who lives in the United States.

Here’s what else you need to know to decode the Census Bureau’s upcoming data quality report:

The over or undercount of the total population masks racial inequities

After the 2010 count, the bureau’s director at the time, Robert Groves, called the tally “an outstanding census” for having a net overcount of the total U.S. population of 0.01%, which translates into overcounting by about 36,000 people.

Focusing on just that sliver of a percent, however, would mean overlooking a stark flaw along racial and ethnic lines: Decade after decade, the U.S. census has overcounted people who identify as white and not Latino, while undercounting people of color. The 2010 tally was no exception.

Civil rights organizations and other census watchers are concerned this trend is likely to have continued in 2020, perpetuating inequitable distributions of political power and federal money for another 10 years.

COVID-19 made it harder to measure who was left out of the count

Just as the pandemic disrupted door knocking for the census, it also delayed in-person interviews for the follow-up survey the bureau relies on to determine over and undercounting rates by race, ethnicity and other demographic characteristics.

That has many census watchers worried about how accurate the results of the Post-Enumeration Survey will be.

Faced with many households’ reluctance to speak with strangers at their doors and general census fatigue, the bureau extended the survey’s interviewing schedule. The shifts raised the risk of households not accurately recalling who was living at their home address on Census Day, which was April 1, 2020.

Still, bureau officials have said that despite the challenges, they believe the survey’s estimates “will produce a helpful picture.”

Quality metrics at the state level and lower would tell a fuller story

The bureau says Thursday’s report – the first of a series on the quality of the 2020 census data based on Post-Enumeration Survey estimates – will provide only a national-level look.

Counting efforts can range greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, which means to get a fuller story on the accuracy of the 2020 tally, metrics at the state level and lower are needed.

Estimates by state are expected from the bureau this summer. However, the survey is not conducted in remote areas of Alaska. It also does not include people experiencing homelessness or those living in college dorms, prisons or other group quarters, where residents were particularly difficult to count accurately in the early months of the pandemic.

In December, the bureau announced it is not planning to release new over and undercounting rates for counties and smaller local communities and needs to do more research on how to produce those quality metrics below the state level.

Source: Why it’s hard to know how accurate the 2020 census was

U.S. census director says the bureau needs to reduce chances of meddling after Trump

Of note:

The U.S. Census Bureau needs to work on ways the limit the potential for political interference with future national headcounts, the bureau’s director, Robert Santos, told NPR on Monday.

“I’m not too interested in looking back on and relitigating the events that occurred with the previous administration. But looking forward, I think it’s really important for us to make sure that there are policies and regulations that are in place to reduce the chance of meddling,” Santos said in one of his first media interviews since becoming the bureau’s leader in January.

After NPR previously reported on Santos’ comments about the Biden administration drafting new regulations to try to better protect the bureau from any interference from its parent agency, the Commerce Department, Santos said in an email that he misspoke.

“I am not aware of any regulations being drafted and apologize for the confusion,” Santos said.

Instead, he added, he meant to refer to ongoing work by the administration’s Scientific Integrity Task Force on improving the policies of federal agencies, including the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department.

Last month, a report by that task force, which included the bureau’s highest-ranking civil servant, Deputy Director Ron Jarmin, warned that the bureau and other federal statistical agencies “must protect against interference in their efforts to create and release data that provide a set of common facts to inform policymakers, researchers, and the public.”

The assessment came after years of meddling with the 2020 census by former President Donald Trump’s administration, which attempted to add a hotly contested question about U.S. citizenship status to the head count’s forms; added a series of political appointees with no obvious qualifications to the bureau’s top ranks; and cut short counting efforts after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed many of the bureau’s operations.

The moves by the previous administration have fueled calls for new ways to safeguard the once-a-decade head count’s integrity.

In recent decades, there have been proposals to move the bureau out of the Commerce Department and make it an independent agency. These efforts include bills in Congress introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York who currently chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

“I will support whatever it is that Congress decides that they want to do,” Santos, who is expected to serve as the bureau’s director through 2026, told NPR. “There are many issues that need to be worked out if an independent agency was created. However, I’m comfortable with the current structure, and I will work with Congress in terms of whatever they decide.”

The first Latino to head the federal government’s largest statistical agency, Santos is weeks into a political appointment that has landed him in not only U.S. history books but also a hotbed of controversy over the results of the 2020 head count.

Even though the results have already been used to reallocate each state’s share of congressional seats and Electoral College votes, as well as to redraw maps of voting districts across the country, questions about accuracy linger over the count.

On March 10, the bureau is set to start releasing results of its own assessment of the data’s quality.

Concerned about the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and interference by the Trump administration, many census watchers are hoping to see to what extent the 2020 census may continue a decades-long pattern — the overcounting of people who identify as white and not Latino and the undercounting of people of color.

Flaws in the count carry big implications for political representation, the distribution of some $1.5 trillion a year and the country’s understanding of the people living in the United States. Santos and other bureau officials are under pressure to come up with new methods to mitigate the effects of a turbulent census.

Santos is also stepping into a heated debate over privacy protections applied to the 2020 census redistricting data and other more detailed information, just as the bureau ramps up its planning for the 2030 census, which could bring new ways of collecting data on race and ethnicity, particularly about Latinos and people of Middle Eastern or North African descent.

The 2020 census likely left out people of color at rates higher than a decade ago

Of note:

Last year’s approximately $14.2 billion census likely undercounted people of color at higher rates than those of the previous once-a-decade tally, an Urban Institute study released Tuesday suggests.

Researchers at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank say that while the Census Bureau may have continued to overcount people who identified as white and not Latino, it also likely failed to count some 2.5 million people in other racial and ethnic groups.

The Urban Institute estimates that nationwide, the net undercount rates by race or ethnicity were highest for Black people (2.45%), Latinx people (2.17%) and Pacific Islanders (1.52%). The estimated net undercount rates for Asian Americans and Native Americans were each less than a percent.

The study, which cites NPR’s reporting, also finds last year’s net undercount rate for children under 5 (4.86%) is likely higher than what is considered the bureau’s most reliable 2010 estimate. The net undercount rate for renters may have almost doubled over the past decade to 2.13%, and for households with noncitizens, that rate may have been as high as 3.36%.

The Urban Institute’s method for calculating the national head count’s accuracy is different from what the Census Bureau uses. The think tank’s new figures come months before the bureau is set to start releasing its over- and undercount estimates from a follow-up survey for a census that was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and interference from former President Donald Trump’s administration, including a failed push to add a citizenship question.

“In a decennial census where there was a lot of uncertainty, I think it’s increasingly important to have external benchmarks on census data so we know, for example, if states need to rethink how they allocate resources within their state,” Diana Elliott, one of the Urban Institute report’s co-authors, says of how each state’s share of federal funding is determined in part by census results.

To produce their estimates, researchers with the Urban Institute used census participation rates, national survey results and other data to simulate results of last year’s national head count.

One of the report’s advisers — Robert Santos, who is the Urban Institute’s chief methodologist — is also President Biden’s nominee for Census Bureau director.

Source: The 2020 census likely left out people of color at rates higher than a decade ago

Bloc leader’s threat to unleash ‘fires of hell’ over Quebec seat proposal might just backfire

Hard to have much sympathy for the “outrage” given the demographic decline reflects in part Quebec’s decision to admit fewer immigrants than elsewhere in Canada (despite or because they manage economic immigration) and the xenophobic Bill 21 and the weakening of bilingualism in Bill 96. Commentaries, starting with Konrad Yakabuski highlighting the consequences of lower immigration levels, and Randy Boswell’s more sympathetic take:
Le premier ministre de l’Ontario, Doug Ford, a suscité un tollé cette semaine lorsqu’il a livré un avertissement à tous ceux qui espèrent immigrer dans sa province, laquelle fait face à un manque criant de travailleurs puisque plus de 290 000 postes demeurent vacants. « Si vous pensez que vous pouvez venir ici pour toucher le B.S. et rester assis à la maison, ça n’arrivera pas », a martelé M. Ford lors d’un point de presse, se faisant immédiatement accuser d’exprimer tout haut ce que de nombreux Ontariens pensent tout bas. Si M. Ford a refusé de s’excuser pour ses propos, il s’est néanmoins empressé de se déclarer « pro-immigration » et de se vanter d’accueillir des immigrants de partout dans le monde au « Ford Fest », le barbecue estival que sa famille organise chaque année dans un quartier très multiculturel à Toronto. En effet, le gouvernement conservateur de M. Ford appuie sans réserve la hausse des seuils d’immigration annoncée l’an dernier par Ottawa, qui vise à accueillir 401 000 résidents permanents au pays en 2021, soit une augmentation de 18 % par rapport à 2019. Si le nombre d’immigrants a chuté en 2020 en raison de la pandémie, tombant à 184 000, le gouvernement fédéral presse le pas pour atteindre ses objectifs en matière d’immigration pour les années 2021, 2022 et 2023. En tout, ce sont plus de 1,2 million de nouveaux résidents permanents que le Canada compte accueillir pendant cette période, dépassant ainsi un ancien record qui date du début du XXe siècle. À lui seul, l’Ontario devrait accueillir plus de 540 000 nouveaux arrivants, ce qui pousserait sa population au-delà du seuil des 15 millions d’habitants. La politique d’immigration du Québec Quoi qu’on pense de la politique d’immigration du Québec, son résultat à long terme mènera vers une baisse du poids démographique de la province dans la fédération canadienne. La province compte accueillir entre 51 500 et 54 500 nouveaux immigrants cette année, si on inclut le « rattrapage » de 7000 nouveaux arrivants que le gouvernement caquiste prévoit d’effectuer après la baisse de 2020 liée à la fermeture des frontières. En 2019, durant la première année du gouvernement de François Legault, le Québec a reçu 40 565 nouveaux résidents permanents, ou seulement 11,89 % du total canadien. L’Alberta, qui compte la moitié moins d’habitants que le Québec, en a reçu 43 691, ou 12,81 % du total. L’Ontario a accueilli 153 395 nouveaux arrivants, ou 45 % des 341 000 nouveaux résidents permanents acceptés en 2019. Le Québec ne recevait déjà pas sa part d’immigrants en fonction de sa population au sein de la fédération canadienne avant l’arrivée de M. Legault au pouvoir. En 2016, quand le Québec comptait pour environ 23 % de la population canadienne, il avait reçu 18 % des immigrants arrivés au pays au cours de cette année-là. Il n’est pas impossible que ce taux atteigne les 10 % dans les prochaines années. En effet, les voix s’élèvent dans le reste du pays pour qu’Ottawa augmente ses seuils annuels d’immigration à 450 000 ou à 500 000 nouveaux arrivants. Un groupe d’influents Canadiens, réunis sous la bannière de l’Initiative du siècle, préconise une politique d’immigration visant à hausser la population canadienne à 100 millions de personnes en l’an 2100 afin de s’assurer de la prospérité nécessaire au maintien des programmes sociaux et d’augmenter l’influence du Canada sur la scène internationale. Le groupe, présidé par l’ancien chef de la direction du fonds d’investissement du Régime de pensions du Canada, Mark Wiseman, compte parmi ses membres le p.-d.g. du Conseil canadien des affaires, Goldy Hyder, et Dominique Barton, l’actuel ambassadeur du Canada en Chine. Il jouit aussi de l’appui de l’ancien premier ministre Brian Mulroney. Or, dans son discours inaugural prononcé cette semaine à l’Assemblée nationale, M. Legault a réaffirmé son refus aux « voix qui réclament un nombre toujours plus élevé d’immigrants ». Le Québec reçoit déjà plus d’immigrants que la plupart des pays développés, a-t-il dit, et il n’est pas question qu’il emboîte le pas au reste du pays. « Le Québec ne peut pas avoir le même modèle d’immigration que celui du Canada anglais. La survie du français exige une approche différente. » Ce choix n’est pas sans conséquences. Le directeur des élections du Canada, Stéphane Perreault, a annoncé la semaine dernière que le Québec doit perdre un siège à la Chambre des communes dès 2024, ce qui porterait le nombre de ses sièges à 77, selon une nouvelle répartition des sièges basée sur la formule de représentation prévue dans la Constitution. Les réactions à cette annonce n’ont pas tardé, le chef du Bloc québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, et la ministre caquiste des Relations canadiennes, Sonia LeBel, s’étant tous deux insurgés contre toute tentative de diminuer le poids du Québec au Parlement fédéral. Vendredi, M. Legault a lui-même sommé M. Trudeau de « préserver le poids de la nation québécoise à la Chambre des communes ». Toutefois, sans modification constitutionnelle, il semble inévitable que le Québec voie sa proportion de sièges à la Chambre des communes diminuer de façon importante au cours des prochaines décennies. Cette proportion est déjà tombée de 36 % des sièges en 1867 à 23 % en 2011. Selon la proposition de M. Perrault, elle glisserait encore à 22,5 %. Qu’en sera-t-il dans dix ans, alors que le reste du Canada s’apprête à accueillir de plus en plus d’immigrants pendant que le Québec referme davantage ses portes ?
Source: https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/chroniques/642273/chronique-la-marginalisation?utm_source=infolettre-2021-10-23&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=infolettre-quotidienne
A proposed rejigging of Canada’s electoral map could see Quebec lose one of its seats in the House of Commons by 2024 while Alberta gains three and Ontario and B.C. each gain one.
The changes would increase the total number of federal ridings to 342 from 338. There are reasonable arguments for and against implementing the exact changes recommended by Elections Canada. But Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet’s opening salvo in the debate — that the BQ would “unleash the fires of hell” if his province’s seat count is dropped to 77 from 78 — is the wrong way to begin what needs to be a calm, cool conversation about updating the country’s political geography. How are we supposed to respond to Blanchet’s Trumpian explosion of outrage? Can thoughtful discussion follow a toddler’s tantrum?
Injecting apocalyptic rhetoric into a decision-making process that must be driven by the fundamental democratic principle of representation by population — and basic math — is precisely how to inflame prejudices, fuel interprovincial pettiness and polarize the nation. Blanchet, of course, knows this. Driving wedges wherever possible between Quebec and the rest of Canada is crucial, by definition, to the political project of any diehard separatist.
So we shouldn’t be too surprised that Blanchet has zeroed in histrionically on the planned removal of a single Quebec seat from the Commons as if it were a sign of the End Times. Although Elections Canada proposed the change for the benign reason that Quebec’s population is not growing at the same pace as the populations in Alberta, Ontario or B.C. — and because Quebec is (relative to those other big provinces) already more fairly represented in the current parliamentary seat count — Blanchet is invoking biblical imagery of the final battle between Good and Evil.
Sonia LeBel, Quebec’s minister responsible for relations with the rest of Canada, has employed more moderate language — and advanced a more compelling rationale — in urging special considerations for the province in the latest redistribution of federal ridings. “We are part of the founding peoples of Canada,” she said this week. “We have three seats guaranteed at the Supreme Court for judges. We have seats guaranteed in the Senate, a weight that is important and represents much more than just a simple calculation of population.” All of this is why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other political leaders interested in preserving the peace in our mostly peaceable kingdom need to rise above Blanchet’s blatant bullying while finding a sensible solution to the seat-count conundrum — one that delicately balances numerical fairness with other considerations endemic in a land of complexity and compromise. Remember: there’s no purely mathematical justification for granting a federal seat to each of Canada’s three territories — none of which has a population above 50,000 — when the average number of Canadians represented by each MP is more than 110,000. There’s no logical reason, either, for Prince Edward Island — with a mere 0.43 per cent of the national population of about 38 million — to have four seats representing 1.19 per cent of the elected positions in Parliament.
So there may well be legitimate reasons to avoid reducing Quebec’s seat count at this time. In 2011, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper implemented legislation that increased the number of seats to 338 from 308 to reflect population changes. At the time, the Harper government — with much prodding from Quebec, the BQ and other opposition parties — chose to inflate the overall size of the House of the Commons so that the number of Quebec seats would increase (by three, to 78) instead of remaining static at 75 — as an earlier, hotly rejected, purely mathematical proposal had called for. The government’s thinking at the time was that tweaking the formula for allocating seats in a way that would better recognize Quebec’s special status as a nation within the nation was politically prudent.
It also happened to keep the province’s seat total roughly proportional to its percentage of Canada’s population, even as those two numbers remained unfairly out of whack for faster-growing provinces.
The Quebec-friendly adjustment wasn’t immediately embraced by Harper’s own caucus. The additional Quebec seats, according to a Globe and Mail report at the time, “caused consternation among Conservative backbenchers, who were concerned that Canada’s French-speaking province was benefiting from a bill meant to address under-representation in the three large and fast-growing anglophone provinces” — Alberta, Ontario and B.C. Sound familiar? The Conservative caucus was ultimately convinced by Harper to accept the plan for the sake of national unity. But despite the Quebec-friendly compromise, the pre-Blanchet Bloc Québécois still slammed the 2011 reconfiguration of the House as falling short of true recognition of the province’s “unique status with regard to its political weight.” You can’t please everyone. As then-B.C. premier Christy Clark, who supported the 2011 changes, said at the time: “Perfection in these things is impossible because it’s a big and complicated country.” A decade later, the scenario confronting Elections Canada, the federal government and the provinces is much the same. And maybe a little massaging of the numbers to mollify Quebec is warranted yet again. Would it be so bad if Quebec kept its 78 seats and we had 343 federal ridings instead of 342? That would represent about 22.7 per cent of the seats in the House for a province with about 22.6 per cent of Canada’s population. (Meanwhile, Ontario’s proposed 122 seats would then account for 35.6 per cent of 343 seats for a province with almost 39 per cent of the country’s population.)
But Blanchet’s bluster about unleashing the “fires of hell” risks torching the good will required for the rest of Canada to grant Quebec some latitude in its allotment of seats in the national legislature. It’s the kind of talk that’s more likely to unleash cynicism and stinginess. And eventually, if population trends continue in the current direction, maintaining Quebec’s present share of federal seats as its population drifts towards one-fifth of Canada’s total will become untenable from a democratic point of view — Blanchet’s fires of hell notwithstanding. Randy Boswell is a Carleton University journalism professor and former Postmedia News national writer.
Source: Bloc leader’s threat to unleash ‘fires of hell’ over Quebec seat proposal might just backfire