PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Florida is one of six states in the U.S. that was undercounted during the 2020 Census

A flashing sign near the iconic "Freedom Tower," advises people to fill out their census forms, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in downtown Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/AP
/
AP
A flashing sign near the iconic "Freedom Tower," advises people to fill out their census forms, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in downtown Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida is one of six states in the U.S. that was undercounted during the once-every-decade Census in 2020.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently found the state was undercounted by about 3 and a half percent [3.48%]. After the 2010 Census, the undercount was a little less than half a percent.

To many advocates and organizations, this was disappointing. But, not surprising.

"The pandemic. The rural nature of a lot of our communities. The citizenship question, which intimidated our immigrants, because even if they were documented, they may have family members that are undocumented," said Florida Counts' Susan Racher.

In 2020 Racher was a founding partner of a group called “Florida Counts.” Eight foundations and nonprofits came together in 2019 to try to organize the state for the census, but Racher says they didn’t have the support they needed from the state or local governments:

"I personally spoke to a lot of graduate students living here full time and people who had come from other countries that didn't realize that if they weren't an American citizen, they still had to do the census. And that's where state messaging, state organization and funding for outreach really has an impact," Racher said.

An undercount means less federal funding. In Florida, the undercount appears to have cost the state a congressional seat, too.

It’s now eight years until the next Census, and Racher says some organizations are getting ready.

Copyright 2022 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Tags
During her time at Florida International University, where she recently graduated from with a Bachelors in Journalism, Sherrilyn Cabrera interned for the South Florida News Service - a digital journalism platform where stories are written, shot and edited by FIU students. As part of her senior project, she reported on the influx of Puerto Ricans who migrated to Florida after Hurricane Maria, and the impact it could have had on the November 2018 midterm elections.