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What Issues May Arise From the Data?

TUESDAY, OCT 05, 2021

Problems associated with differential privacy, or the shifting of certain groups of people from one geography to the next in the name of security, stands to create an enormous headache for the redrawing of voting districts. In some areas, it may decrease minority representation; in other areas, it may increase minority representation. Either way, introducing deliberate error into the smallest of Census geographies is a recipe for a nation that fails to provide equal representation for its citizens.

While the differential privacy issue looms largest, it’s well understood that the 2020 Census had one of the lowest response rates in modern history. According to Census data released on Aug. 25, 2021, 5.95 percent of households failed to respond to questions about their date of birth; 5.35 percent refused to answer whether they were Hispanic or not; and 5.77 percent didn’t answer the question about their race.

The numbers increased significantly in comparison to the 2010 rates, when only 3.35 percent refused to specify birth; 3.99 percent didn’t answer the question about Hispanic ethnicity; and 3.31 percent refused to describe their race.

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