LatinaLista — If there is any government agency that should have a true handle on just how big the Latino population is in the United States, it has to be the U.S. Census. Yet, in a new study published by the Pew Hispanic Center, How Many Hispanics? Comparing New Census Counts with the Latest Census Estimates, an in-depth analysis reveals that even the Census folks had trouble putting their finger on even a close estimate.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center’s report:
In 23 of the 33 states, census counts were higher than the latest census estimates of Hispanics by at least 2%. In three states, the census count was at least 2% lower than the census estimate. In the remaining seven states, the difference was less than 2% in either direction. By comparison, the difference between census estimates and the 2010 Census count for the total population in these 33 states was well under 1% (.2%).
Because the estimates were off for the Latino population in those states, it also affected the states’ total populations. In many cases, this helped with gaining more seats in Congress for those states with higher than expected Latino populations.
This gap in the Census data underscores just how much of an underground community has been allowed to form, migrate from state to state and flourish without any federal oversight. Because some members of Congress stubbornly hold on to a delusional belief that punitive immigration enforcement will drive out all undocumented residents, they have done nothing to address a population that is not only growing, but in many areas is displacing an aging majority.
While the 2010 U.S. Census delivered the most accurate picture to date of the Latino community, it’s still not current with today’s 2011 population just given the ongoing fluid nature of the underground community.
Only when people are allowed to join society by getting driver’s licenses, social security cards, buying or renting homes openly, etc. will we all know just how many (undocumented) Latinos have always been living among us and the true picture of the Latino community.