Philanthropy Letters to Census Bureau Director on Population Estimates

On July 19, 2022 census philanthropy leaders sent a letter to the Director of the US Census Bureau on the need to expand the Population Estimates program.

The Census Bureau’s annual Population Estimates are used to guide the allocation of trillions of federal dollars to states and localities, families, and individuals throughout the decade. Because the latest census numbers are the base for the estimates, the inequitable 2020 Census results — which reflect significant undercounts of Black, Hispanic, and Native American communities, as well as renters and children — will be baked into the data used to distribute federal resources unless cities, counties, and other localities have an effective path to challenge and improve the accuracy of the estimates. The current appeals process is unnecessarily narrow and does not offer a meaningful way to mitigate the harm caused by census undercounts. Rural and urban communities, localities hit by natural disasters around the time of the census, and localities that are home to historically undercounted population groups will all benefit from a better appeals program and a more collaborative population estimates program overall.

Below are links to the initial letter and a follow-up letter, as well as Director Santos’ two response letters.