Texas officials worry about gaps in Census data

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Census estimates have long indicated that Texas would gain at least three congressional seats after the 2020 Census count as the state continues to see massive population growth.

Instead, data released Monday showed the state locked in two additional seats.

That gap and similar ones in other states have some worried about the accuracy of the count.

“What we have right now is a set of data that we’ve been working off of for a decade that seems to contradict the data that we’ve received from the Census Bureau,” Adam Kincaid, the executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, told KWTX.

“Florida was supposed to get two; it got one,” he added.

“And, you know, Arizona didn’t get an extra seat,” he said.

He said these gaps are “surprising” given the states’ population growth over the last decade.

Hector Sabido, Waco’s Mayor Pro Tem, who oversaw the city’s Census outreach efforts, told KWTX he is not certain that the numbers are “as definitive or as concrete as we would’ve liked them to be.”

He said he thinks some of the state’s Hispanic population may have been missed.

“Number 1a, the pandemic; there was a lot of people that did not complete the Census,” he said.

“B, if you recall, there was a lot of question — a lot of animosity — as to whether the citizenship question should be put on the Census,” he said.

He also said that the state began its Census outreach efforts “very late in the game.”

“There have been some states that did start three, four years ago, and I wish we would’ve done that here because I think the outcome would’ve been different,” he said.

Texas began a $15 million advertisement campaign in September, with about a month left in the count.

Still, he said that Waco’s Census response numbers appear on track to match or exceed 2010 numbers.

Census data show that the state’s Hispanic population has grown more quickly than other population groups over the last decade, and some projections indicate that Hispanics will be the largest population group by mid year.

The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release more detailed data in early fall.

That will be used by state lawmakers — likely during an upcoming special session — to draw state and congressional maps.

It will also be used by local officials to draw city, county and school district lines.

“All it is a waiting game right now to get in those numbers,” Sabido said.

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