Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > General > New report shows Latinos don’t have to boycott U.S. Census – they’re already undercounted

New report shows Latinos don’t have to boycott U.S. Census – they’re already undercounted

LatinaLista — When it comes to the 2010 Census, there has been so much attention given to those Latino leaders who are still trying to convince people not to register for the census – which is not a cool move, by the way – that it’s not even realized that there is a much bigger problem on the horizon with the 2010 Census that could adversely impact Latino families.


A new report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Why Are Young Children Missed So Often in the Census? tells us that:

According the Census Bureau’s Demographic Analysis, young children are missed at a higher rate than any other age group. In the 2000 census, there was a net undercount of more than 1 million children under age 10. More than three- quarters of a million children under age 5 were missed, which amounts to 4 percent of this population group.

Minority children have higher undercount rates, and the share of children age 0 to 4 that are from a racial or Hispanic minority population rose from 41 percent in 2000 to 47 percent in 2008.

More children live in families with one or more undocumented immigrants. Nearly half (47 percent) of unauthorized-immigrant households are couples with children. The number of children with at least one unauthorized-immigrant parent increased from 3.9 million in 2003 to 5.5 million in 2008.

The undercount of children results in reduced funding for needy families. Census counts are used, in whole or in part, for more than 140 programs that distribute more than $400 billion of federal funds to states and localities…

The report’s author found that Census officials don’t even have any estimates for the undercount rates of Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian children from the 2000 census. In fact, the author found that there exists a persistent pattern over several censuses showing racial and Hispanic minorities are more likely to be missed than non-Hispanic whites.

A variety of reasons are proposed in the report as to why children are being undercount — not enough room on the old census forms, parents either get distracted or tired of filling out the form or questions aren’t understood completely, etc.

Yet, the repercussions for not filling out the forms are real:

When children are not counted accurately we don’t get a true picture of our nation, and communities don’t get their rightful share of public funds or political power. A recent analysis by Census Bureau staff identified more than 140 federal programs that use Census Bureau data in the distribution of funds.

In addition, school planners are confronted with more children than they expect, resulting in increased class size and over- crowded schools.

Another analysis shows how the estimate of children in poverty is affected by the undercount of children in the Decennial Census.

Not to mention that inaccurate data may lead private foundations and nonprofit organizations to make mistaken decisions about where to focus resources or may lead the private sector to miss business opportunities.

In these changing times where more accountability will be placed on local institutions and families to make sure families stay as healthy as possible and children are fully prepared academically to achieve success, every extra program that aids in those areas needs the federal financial resources to continually effect the kinds of changes that will benefit today’s children, who are tomorrow’s adults — and caregivers of this nation’s economy.

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  • Rev. Miguel Rivera
    December 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Dear Marisa;
    As many other against an epowerment call by the latino evangelical church on behalf of the undocumented immigrants to boycott census efforts, unless Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform, your article applies blame on the victims and not those responsible for a broken immigration system. Instead of intimidating the latino immigrant undocumented community, threatening them with the thousands of dollars that would be lost, as per their decision to not cooperate with the census efforts, unless a path to legalization is available to them, you should write and scold those “bambalanes” members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, that are the TRUE AND ONLY responsible for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
    Once CIR is signed into law as promised by President Barack Obama, then ALL americans are able to participate without any concerns for their safety or their families welfare. The truth is that many of those who oppose our moral standing calling for LEGALIZATION before ENUMERATION, are not concerned with the thousands of undocumented immigrants that are constantly harrased by gestapo law enforcement racists like Joe Arpio in Arizona or James Comway in Georgia. The only motivation behind opposing our high moral campaign, is because of federal funding and political empowerment that only benefits those who can vote. Happens that undocumented immigrants can’t and electect official have no accountabilty for them. But, each undocumented immigrant, has a $3,000.00 dollars benefir upon his-her head for others to enjoy and creat “ghost electoral districts” that become later in the best partners with DHS, signing immigration law enforcements agreements for the 287-G implementation.
    Hope that CONLAMIC Pastors in the Rio Grande Valley, will have the chance to read my response and instead of fighting our position, why not UNITE ourselves and DEMAND COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFOR NOW. Then an accurate and succesful census, will be truly accomplished.
    Reverend Miguel Rivera

  • Marisa Treviño
    December 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Rev. Rivera, Thank you for your comments. From the time it was announced that undocumented immigrants were being asked not to participate in the Census, I never thought it was a good idea, for several reasons: I believe strongly that one of the most important ways to garner attention to the plight of undocumented immigrants is to show the American public just exactly how many already have lives here in this country. Also, by asking the undocumented not to participate, it’s dividing the whole Latino community. From whatever immigration reform bill passes, and I believe it will within the tenure of this administration, the bigger work after the bill will be joining two factions of the Latino community together. Some believe there will be no problem but there have always been reports, especially among young people, of undocumented Latinos fighting with native-born Latinos. To advise undocumented Latinos to not participate in something that will, in the long-term, benefit them once they do become legal citizens does an injustice to the whole Latino community, especially since it will be another ten years before another census will be taken. There is plenty of work being done on the grassroots level and with various organizations, as I’m sure you know, to impress upon the Obama Administration and Congress to do something about reforming immigration and there is no choice for them but to do it. In the meantime, I would prefer to work for the day after that bill has passed to start the hard work of uniting two different communities and improving the quality of life and education for those new citizens-to-be. Yet, if the money isn’t there to help with the programs that will be needed at that time, the job won’t be just difficult, it might be near impossible.

  • Texano78704
    December 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    If Latinos have been undercounted in the past, how is it helpful to amplify the undercount in 2010?

  • Rev. Miguel Rivera
    February 15, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Dear Marisa;
    Seems you are a very talented and
    a high integrity advocate and journalist.
    For such reasons, I am putting aside this time during my busy daily schedule, to write again to you and your readers.
    First let me assure you, that the
    Latino Evangelical Church in America (CONLAMIC)
    are very committed to empower our hispanic
    community and because of our proven
    tract record, dealing with alcoholics, drug users, wife abusers and many other socil illness that destroys families,
    we have no concern about those who
    accuse us, of being dividers with our call to empower undocumented immigrants, not to cooperate with the upcoming census 2010.
    With that argument aside and duly
    responded, let me bring your readers to FACTS.
    Census operatives and elected officials, are arguing on behalf of the census, the need to be counted in order to be receipients of additional federal funding.
    The CONLAMIC-Rio Grande Velley Clergy Leaders, asked then this question to Cuellar and Hinojosa, both members of Congress; WHERE ARE SUCH FUNDING, REGARDING “LAS COLONIAS”? Happens that residents and homeowners of “Las Colonias” were duly counted back in the census 1990 and 2000 efforts, but still are without running water, sewers, electricity, roads, public parks etc.
    The truth is that, because the undocumented immigrants cannot vote, elected officials do not feel accountable to them. But in a display of extreme political hipocrisy, they are seducing all to be counted, knowing that federal funding will not benefit those “ilegales” equitably and these scheme happens without concerns for those “politicos”.
    That’s where the “census non-participation” among undocumented immigrants, makes sense. Its an opportunity for them to say; ITS NOT FAIR, TO ASK US TO STEP OUT OF THE SHADOWS, EXPOSE OURSELVES AND RETURN EMPTY HANDED TO OUR LEGAL LIMBO, WHILE OTHERS BENEFIT FROM OUR NUMBERS INDEED.
    Yes its a radical approach and also with serious consequences. But onlt Cuellar, Hinojosa, Reyes, Grijalva and their “colegas” in Congress are the ones that can provide solution to this matter ans change the outcome of the upcoming census.
    In the meantime, let’s keep all of us debating the issue, making more noise and not letting the Comprehensive Immigration Reform matter, fade away. NO THIS TIME, NO LATINO SHOULD LET THESE “BAMBALANES” OF CONGRESS, GET AWAY WITH IT.
    Rev. Miguel Rivera
    PS: I will be in the Valley promptly for a Press Conference in “Las Colonias”. Hope to meet you there.

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