New Mexico AG Addresses Census Undercount

From the Office of the Attorney General:

ALBUQUERQUE— Attorney General Hector Balderas predicted that the 2020 census would seriously undercount New Mexico’s population, and the U.S. Census Bureau has now proved him right.

Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau released their post-enumeration survey (PES) which documents the errors of the 2020 census.

The survey reported that Hispanic people nationwide were undercounted by 5 percent, Black people by 3.3 percent, American Indian and Alaska natives by 1 percent, and “some other race” by 4.3 percent. At the same time, white people were overcounted by .7 percent, and Asian people were overcounted by 2.6 percent. The undercount for Hispanic people tripled from 1.54 percent to 4.99 percent and the overcount of whites doubled from the previous census.

“New Mexico is one of the few minority-majority states with a high percentage of Hispanic and Native American people, and has been disproportionately impacted by the undercounting for decades,” Attorney General Balderas said. “Federal dollars tied to census figures are crucial to our state and we can’t afford to receive far less than we deserve.” 

The census count was particularly spotty in remote New Mexico areas with little internet access, especially after ‘enumerators’ who normally go door-to-door quit knocking on doors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Mexico receives more than $6 billion each year through federal programs allocated per person—including Medicaid, transportation, education and housing grants, and vouchers—and each uncounted person equates to a loss of approximately $3,000 for every year over the next decade. 

According to the UNM Geospatial and Population Studies program, an undercount of 1 percent could result in a loss of $600,000,000 in funds over the coming decade.

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