Will You Count? Latinos In The 2020 Census

Latino households are at risk of being undercounted.

Latinos have been undercounted for decades, disadvantaging their families, communities, and neighborhoods. Latino children in particular are among the most undercounted populations in the United States. Today, there are 56.5 million Hispanics living in the United States, and roughly one in three live in hard-to-count census tracts.

What are the hard-to-count characteristics of the Latino community?

There are many characteristics that make the Latino community hard to count, requiring special attention to reach these households and make sure they complete a 2020 Census questionnaire:

  • Language Barriers: Almost a third of Hispanics (31 percent) speak English less than “very well.” Historically, areas with low rates of English proficiency have been undercounted.
  • Poverty: Hispanics have an official poverty rate of 21 percent,10 significantly higher than the official U.S. poverty rate of 13 percent. It is widely believed that households in poverty are difficult to enumerate.
  • Education: More than 60 percent of Hispanic adults have only a high school degree or didn’t complete high school, 13 compared to 40 percent of the total population. Areas with lower educational attainment are also hard to enumerate.
  • Immigrant Status: More than a third of Latinos (34 percent) are foreign-born. People immigrating to the United States from Latin America made up more than half of the undocumented population in 2016. A range of stakeholders, from state officials to immigrant advocates, fear the recent increase in negative political rhetoric and federal detention and deportation operations targeting the undocumented community could reduce participation among immigrant communities – placing immigrant households at greater risk of being undercounted. Because of these tensions, a growing segment of immigrant households may be reluctant to respond to the census questionnaire due to concerns about data confidentiality.