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Early End to Census Count Raises Concern Among Local Community

Census image
U.S. Census
The shortened period to conduct the official count of the U.S. population concerns some in the local community who question whether the census will be accurate and how a potential undercount could affect those who live here.

An Akron attorney is among those concerned there could be a massive undercount in the 2020 census, especially of the immigrant community.

The census deadline has been a cause for controversy with continued litigation across multiple states because of issues brought on by the Trump administration. Apart from the citizenship question, the most recent back-and-forth was on the counting deadline which abruptly ended Oct. 15.

Koula Glaros-King, an attorney at Community Legal Aid in Akron, said it’s hard to know at this time how well the census has counted the immigrant community.

early end to census count

"We do know that there's been many, many reports indicating that the resources were not allocated for this, indicating that even with these extensions as a result of the recent litigation, census workers were not provided assignments even," she said.

Kevin Walter, Advocacy and Community Outreach Coordinator at the International Institute of Akron, says the earlier deadline will negatively impact the immigrant community as well as the community as a whole.

"People will be undercounted. Communities will be underserved as a result," he said.

Walter also believes that the lack of a definitive deadline caused people to lose interest in learning how to complete the census.
Another reason for people not participating was an environment of danger prevalent in the immigrant community.

According to Glaros-King, many immigrants were fearful of participating in the census, specifically those living in households with different family members of different legal residential statuses.

Susan Licate at the Census Bureau says that all census workers are legally mandated to identify themselves and are provided with special badges for identification. Workers do not enter people's homes and do not ask for banking information or social security information.

Despite this, Glaros-King says that many immigrants do not realize that the census is anonymous. She says they are concerned about revealing their location to the government and thus avoid participating in the count.

Licate remains undeterred by the concerns about an undercount and is confident that every single member of the community was included despite the abrupt end to the count.

Glaros-King says there will likely be continued legal maneuvering because of the impact of the census on essential resources communities receive.

Jay Shah is an associate producer for the “Sound of Ideas.”