Pandemic, Privacy Rules Add to Worries Over 2020 Census Accuracy

Martin LaMonica has published a rather interesting article that describes problems that future genealogists may encounter when researching their ancestors: missing and/or inaccurate information in the 2020 U.S. census. Of course, the same census information is also used to determine all sorts of things, from the number representatives each state sends to the House of Representatives to how Federal funds are allocated for government programs and much more.

LaMonica writes:

“For the Census Bureau, the timing of national shutdowns due to the pandemic could not have been much worse.

“Stay-at-home orders in March coincided with the period when millions of Americans received their census questionnaires in the mail. But large numbers of Americans moved from where they normally live to somewhere else – in with relatives with spare rooms, back home from college or even released from prisons. These highly unusual circumstances are likely to result in failures to count, double-counting or counting in the wrong place portions of the population.

“Disruption from the pandemic adds to existing worries around the accuracy of this year’s census data, including the introduction of a technique to protect residents’ privacy and a potentially low response rate stemming from distrust in the government.”

You can find the full article in The Conversation web site at: https://theconversation.com/pandemic-privacy-rules-add-to-worries-over-2020-census-accuracy-139538.

A related article, Census 2020 Will Protect Your Privacy More Than Ever – but at the Price of Accuracy, by Beth Daley may be found at https://theconversation.com/census-2020-will-protect-your-privacy-more-than-ever-but-at-the-price-of-accuracy-130116.

One Comment

These articles reflect my concerns when completing this year’s census. It left me with the dread that so much is missing from it, and future genealogists won’t be able to find necessary information. Although I realize the main purpose of a census is not for the genealogist’s benefit, I have saved copies that include not only every member of my family but also their staff and what their jobs were at their home, and visitors that were spending time there.

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