The NAACP is bringing a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the upcoming 2020 Census, citing concerns that the president’s plan will lead to the undercounting of African Americans across the nation. Prince George’s County, the second-largest one in Maryland, announced plans to join in the lawsuit on Wednesday.
The lawsuit is the latest pushback against Trump after civil rights groups have raised issues over cost-saving measures that would prevent outreach into the country’s hard-to-count areas, The Baltimore Sun reported.
An underfunded census could disregard millions of people of color in many counties, including those in poorer and rural populations who count on public services. In cases of undercounting, the effects can be devastating for communities, Derrick Johnson, the NAACP’s president and CEO said Wednesday.
Other problems, from limiting political representation for these communities in Congress to cutting funds for public works projects, also happen when folks are left out of a census, which happens every 10 years. A census determines a state’s number of House of Representatives seats and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities. Census information is also crucial in developing health care, housing, education and employment policies — many of which disproportionately affect African Americans.
The last U.S. census in 2010 undercounted 2.1 percent of African Americans, the Census Bureau estimated.
In Prince George’s County, officials estimated that the count missed 2.3 percent of the population in 2010, making it among the highest undercounts of any large jurisdiction in the nation. Baltimore had the second-highest undercount in Maryland at just more than 2 percent, the Sun reported.
The NAACP also worries that populations that are not connected to the internet will be forgotten. More than half the population is expected to respond to the 2020 census online, Census Bureau officials said.
The Commerce Department estimated that the 2020 census will cost $15.6 billion, the Chicago Tribune reported