Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says 99.9% of households responded to census

Investigations

FILE – In this Sunday, April 5, 2020 file photo, An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident is shown in Detroit. A top lawmaker says the Trump administration is seeking to delay deadlines for the 2020 census because of the coronavirus outbreak. U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said Monday, April 13, 2020 that administration officials also were asking that the timetable for releasing apportionment and redistricting data used to draw congressional and legislative districts be pushed back. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

TAMPA (WFLA) – On Tuesday, the Supreme Court passed down a decision that could impact elections for years to come. The nation’s high court ruled that the Trump Administration could end the 2020 census on Thursday, instead of at the end of the month.

Now, some groups worry that decision could hurt minority communities who are often undercounted, and not just at the ballot box.

The census count determines how many representatives you’ll have in Congress and how much federal funding you’ll get for schools, roads and social programs for the next ten years.

On Tuesday, the justices’ ruled the census field operations could end two weeks early.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the Census Bureau already counted more than 99.9% of households.

“I was shocked last night when the decision came,” said Kayla Kane, data and research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Kane argues even if the 99.9% figure is true, “It’s still hundreds of thousands of people not being counted.”

But Kane questions the 99.9% figure, arguing the Census Bureau won’t say if the data came from a household member or a so-called proxy, like a neighbor.

“That data is not going to be as accurate as someone who is reporting from inside the household,” said Kane.

Secretary Ross was in Pinellas County on Tuesday.

“Do you support releasing this data and how fast can we get it?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.

“The 99.9% is a huge achievement, given the fact that this country has been going through the coronavirus and given the fact that a number of states have experienced horrible weather problems,” said Sec. Ross.

Sec. Ross told 8 On Your Side, despite the pandemic, the Census Bureau has matched its performance to previous years.

“I can assure you that the career professionals at the census are dedicated to a complete and accurate count, and that’s what we have,” said Sec. Ross.

“Do you support releasing data regarding whether a census taker got their information from a household member versus a proxy?” asked Investigator Mahsa Saeidi.

“Well, we will be releasing the same detailed information that was released in the 2010 census and the 2000 census,” said Sec. Ross.

Sec. Ross says, over two-thirds of households independently responded. Census workers helped collect data from the remaining one-third of the country.

“The vast majority were, in fact, answered, I’m sure by actual members of the household,” said Sec. Ross.

Meantime, Kane says you have until Thursday night to complete the census.

You can get more information on census here.

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