The Census Bureau is rushing to finish the final 2020 tally of Americans “as close to” the end-of-year deadline as possible, after reaching 99.98% of all households, officials announced Monday.
Louisiana lagged behind, but every other state saw 99.9% of its homes counted.
“The 2020 census faced challenges like no other decennial census in living memory,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. “Achieving these metrics in the face of severe weather events and a global pandemic is a testament to the determination and ingenuity of the hundreds of thousands of dedicated women and men who worked on the 2020 census.”
The counting was supposed to end Sept. 30 but a court ordered it extended through the end of October. But the Supreme Court stayed that ruling, and the census stopped counting people at midnight Thursday.
Now the bureau must process the data and produce the final count of Americans, and the count by state.
The law calls for that to happen by Dec. 31, but the bureau suggested that would slip. Census Director Steven Dillingham said they would try to complete the numbers “as close” as possible to that date.
President Trump has asked the bureau to produce two counts. One is the total number of residents counted. The other would try to subtract undocumented immigrants from that tally.
Mr. Trump wants that second count to be used by Congress to apportion seats in the House of Representatives. If it is used, states with heavy undocumented immigrant populations, such as New York and California, could miss out on seats they would otherwise get.
A spate of lawsuits is challenging Mr. Trump’s order and the Supreme Court last week announced it would take the case next month.
Experts have questioned whether the government has the ability to identify and subtract undocumented immigrants with any accuracy.
The 2020 count was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down door-to-door canvassing for months.
The self-response rate of 67% was slightly better than 2010, and Mr. Dillingham, in a memo, said that was due to an all-hands-on-deck effort by communities that urged people to register.
“From America’s largest employers to your local coffee shop, to all levels of government, and civic organizations in every community, partners of all kinds stepped up,” he wrote.
In Louisiana, Mr. Dillingham said two hurricanes blunted their efforts to finish in-person canvassing. The state saw 99% of households respond. Every other jurisdiction topped 99.9%.
The U.S. has about 130 million households. The 99.98% national response rate means about 26,000 homes were missed.
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at email@example.com.
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