Census Roundtable Tackles 2020 Undercount, Future Preparations

U.S. Census Bureau director joins discussion in Austin on causes of undercount in Texas and developing strategies to avoid a repeat in 2030.

May 26, 2023

Legislative News

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U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Santos was in Austin recently and participated in a roundtable held by the Texas Census Institute to discuss "Making every Texan count." The Census Bureau estimated that more than 500,000 Texans were not counted for the 2020 Census. A study from Texas A&M University further estimated that the undercount resulted in the loss of one U.S. House seat for the state and will cost Texas more than $19 billion in federal funding.

While the roundtable discussed the causes of the undercount, the focus was on how to prepare for the 2030 Census and avoid another undercount. Two main themes developed during the discussion.
First, we have to start preparing now. Any delay could result in another significant undercount in 2030.

Second, while Texas suffered an undercount, other states did not. While we are unique, Texas can learn from the other states and adopt some of the measures they took for the 2020 Census to prevent another undercount in 2030.

The roundtable included Mark Strama, director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin, who served as moderator; A.J. Rodriguez, executive vice president of Texas 2036; Lisa Madry, vice president of community engagement at the Episcopal Health Foundation; and Lonnie Hunt, executive director of the Deep East Texas Council of Government.

Concluding remarks were made by Angela Broyles, executive director of the Texas Census Institute.

For more information about this article, please contact Tim Brown.