The Daily Yonder reports…
Rural communities with high levels of poverty and lack of access to internet could be undercounted in the 2020 U. S. Census, according to a report.
Where will this be worst?
O’Hare’s warning is based on likely limits to budgets for Census operations and a change in methodology. The Census will rely more on the internet for data collection. Since rural residents trail in internet connectivity, with 21% of rural homes lacking service compared with 13% of urban residents, response rates from rural areas could be under-represented.
The rural regions with the most at risk, and the least likely to have internet service, are African-Americans communities in the South, Hispanics in the Southwest, and Native Americans living near tribal lands and reservations. Low participation rates are also expected in “deep Appalachia” and among migrant farmworker families. O’Hare said that approximately 40% of impoverished rural people in these regions have no internet access.
Why does it matter?
“Undercounted communities do not receive their fair share of public funds for things like schools, hospitals, day care centers, and roads. Rural communities that are already struggling economically can ill afford to lose federal money because they are not fully counted in the Census,” O’Hare stated.