By MIKE SCHNEIDER and COREY WILLIAMS – Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) — Majority-Black Detroit is the largest U.S. city to question its 2020 Census numbers after the U.S. Census Bureau acknowledged that a national population tally undercounted a higher percentage of African Americans than in the past decade the US Census Bureau.
Leaders in Michigan’s largest city, which is more than three-quarters black, had questioned the 2020 census results since last December, when they released a report that suggested more than 8% of occupied homes in 10 Neighborhoods of Detroit may have been undercounted.
According to the US Census Bureau, Detroit filed its lawsuit late last week. City officials did not immediately offer comment or provide documentation regarding their appeal.
2020 census data showed Detroit’s population of 639,111, while 2019 estimates put the city’s population at 670,052. A drop of 31,000 residents would be “really unlikely,” said Jeffrey Morenoff, a University of Michigan sociology professor who was contributing to a study of the city’s outnumbering when the report was released in December.
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Detroit is no stranger to census challenges. Then-Mayor Coleman Young sued after the 1990 census, and the numbers were later adjusted.
Although the total U.S. population has been missed by a small percentage, 0.24%, during a head count challenged every decade by the pandemic, natural disasters and political interference from the Trump administration, some minority groups have been overlooked more frequently than in the past decade. The Black population was undercounted by 3.3%, those who identified as another race had a 4.3% undercount, nearly 5% of the Hispanic population was missing, and more than 5.6% of reservation Americans Indians were undercounted.
Detroit is among nearly two dozen cities and counties that have challenged their previous census numbers. States and localities have until the middle of next year to contest their numbers under the Census Bureau’s County Question Resolution Operation. Challenges rarely succeed, but the outcome could decide whether cities and counties get their fair share of the distribution of $1.5 trillion in annual federal funding.
The overwhelming majority of communities questioning their census numbers are small towns, more than half of which are from the rural South. About half a dozen have said in their challenges that prisons in their communities were missed during the count.
Residents of prisons, nursing homes and college dormitories — also known as group quarters — have been among the most difficult people to count in the 2020 census since students were sent home on campus when the U.S. pandemic began in March 2020, and prisons and Nursing homes have been locked down due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Because of the difficulty in counting these residents, the Census Bureau created a separate program for group quarter census challenges last month.
Leaders from communities raising the challenges said an incorrect count could cost them state and federal grants. Mayor Joe Sparks of Bennett, Iowa, said he’s concerned the city won’t get money for two backup generators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency if its census numbers aren’t corrected.
The city’s population grew from 405 in 2010 to 347 in 2020, “and I can’t believe it,” Sparks said.
“The reduced population will adversely affect Bennett residents,” he said.
Schneider reported from Orlando, Florida.
Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP
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Detroit is Biggest City Challenging 2020 Census Numbers | health & Fitness
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