Thursday, November 21, 2019

Latino Youth Were Undercounted In The 2010 Census…Can It Change In 2020?

Hispanic students in library

A new study says that over 113,000 young Latinos in California were not counted in the 2010 census. This has put extra pressure on Latino advocacy groups who want to be sure the U.S. Census Bureau will reduce that number in 2020.

Los Angeles County is home to 12% of the estimated 400,000 Latino children throughout the U.S. who were not counted in 2010. The numbers come from a study released by the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund and Child Trends’ Hispanic Institute. “Whenever anybody is not counted in the census, our democracy is less perfect, and our form of government is less perfect and our policy-making is less perfect,” Arturo Vargas, the NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director, said. This is a personal issue to Vargas, who lives in Los Angeles. He also stated that, “Any undercount in Southern California is bad for Southern California. It results in less money flowing into the region.”

Congressional districts are drawn according to the data collected by the U.S. Census each decade. The number of residents in a neighborhood can determine how the U.S. divides up the over $400 billion in annual federal spending. That money is used for programs that benefit young children such as Head Start or the Special Supplemental Insurance Program for Women, Infants and Children, which makes it crucial that they be included.

Child Trends’ Hispanic Institute Director Lina Guzman said that as the country’s Latino population continues to grow, it is crucial to make sure young Latinos have fair access to government services. “How Latino children fare will have profound implications for our country’s future well-being,” Guzman said. “An undercount of young Latino children is costing states money for those children most in need.” One in 4 American children is Latino, and by 2050 the fraction is expected to increase to 1 in 3.

The study was released during a Capitol Hill briefing Tuesday morning. Author William O’Hare, a social and health psychology researcher who used to work for the Census Bureau, and the study’s other authors found that more than 21 million Americans 4 or younger in 2010 should have been counted by the Census Bureau, but only around 20 million were identified. 40% of those missing million people were Latino. O’Hare said the undercount is very likely affected by the large number of Latino families living in rentals, high poverty areas, or due to difficult living arrangements where a child might not live with a legal guardian.

LA Times