UPDATE, April 27, 2021: The U.S. Census Bureau announced its 2020 results on Monday, finding the U.S. resident population increased 7.4% to 331,449,281 people since 2010. That population increase represents "the lowest rate since the Great Depression," the Associated Press reports.
Texas experienced the biggest gains in population numerically, up about 4 million people to a total population of 29.1 million. California was found to be the most populous state and Utah is the fastest-growing state, seeing a 18.4% population increase since 2010.
The results also revealed shake-ups to House of Representatives seats, with Texas gaining two seats; five states, including Florida and North Carolina, gaining one seat each; and seven states, including California, Illinois and New York, losing one seat each.
UPDATE, Dec. 16, 2020: The U.S. Census Bureau released its Demographic Analysis on Tuesday, estimating the country’s population count could be as high as 335.5 million people as of April 1, when census numbers were collected. Those figures represent an 8.7% population increase from the 2010 census count, NPR reports.
The Demographic Analysis is notably not informed by the 2020 census count, but instead an "independent way the Census Bureau estimates the nation’s population… [it] uses administrative records and other data to build an estimate of the U.S. population," said Ron Jarmin, U.S. Census Bureau deputy director and chief operating officer, during a press briefing. The figures are also used to help measure the quality of the 2020 census results.
The Census Bureau has not yet disclosed when the comprehensive 2020 Census results will be released. "Today’s Demographic Analysis release marks a major milestone in the 2020 census timeline but we have a lot more work ahead of us," Jarmin said.
- The U.S. Census Bureau, which ended its 2020 count on Oct. 15 following a Supreme Court order allowing the Trump administration to end the count early, accounted for 99.98% of all housing units and addresses nationwide.
- Sixty-seven percent of responses were accounted for via self-response online, phone or mail, an increase compared to the 65.5% self-response rate in 2010. And 32.9% were accounted for through the Nonresponse Followup operation.
- Louisiana had the lowest enumeration rate at 99% compared to the 99.9% enumeration rate of every other state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Hurricanes Laura and Delta could be the primary reasons that Louisiana fell into last place, a Census spokesperson said on a Thursday press briefing.
The 2020 Census was met with significant challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), wildfires, hurricanes and national civil unrest.
The census was also marked by challenges over changes made to the count deadline. The deadline was originally extended to the end of October due to the coronavirus. But the Supreme Court ruled Oct. 13 that the Trump administration could end counting early on Oct. 15, approving the suspension of a lower court decision that had extended the count deadline.
"Conducting this census with all of its compounding complications has been without question the greatest challenge any of us...ever encountered in our lives," U.S. Census Bureau Associate Director for Field Operations Tim Olson said on the press briefing.
Cities like New Orleans saw higher self-response rates in 2020 compared to 2010, with a 58.4% self-response rate this year compared to 43.8% in 2010.
Some cities like Detroit and Houston, however, had a lower self-response rate in 2020 than in 2010. Houston saw a 58.9% self-response rate in 2020 compared to 63.5% in 2010 and the state’s overall self-response rate of 62.8%. And Detroit, dubbed one of the hardest-to-count cities, had a 51% self-response rate this year, compared to the city’s 2010 self-response rate of 53.6%.
One of the biggest challenges for Detroit's count was the number of vacancies within the city, Detroit 2020 Census Campaign Executive Director Victoria Kovari said in an earlier interview. The high number of renters, a significant digital divide and a large population of people of color — considered a hard-to-count group — also contributed to the city's challenges in achieving a complete count.
Some local experts are also concerned about the quality of the data collected given the confusion surrounding this year’s census and the shortened timeline, Cleveland.com reports.
"Federal funding that comes from census numbers feed Houstonians, provide roofs over their heads, fixes the roads they drive on and provides them support after natural disasters," the City of Houston's Planning & Development Department Director Margaret Wallace Brown said in an earlier interview. "Without an accurate count, they won't have the data they need to make these decisions."
The Census Bureau is now processing its data to deliver state population counts by the Dec. 31 statutory deadline. But the Census has not established a hard-stop, and is working to maintain flexibility to complete the job in a quality way, a Census spokesperson said on the Wednesday press briefing.
The Census Bureau is "under pressure" to meet the Dec. 31 deadline, NPR reports, as the recently expedited deadline could help President Trump change the final count by excluding unauthorized immigrants from the figures used to determine congressional seats and Electoral College votes over the next decade.
CORRECTION: The headline in a previous version of this story included an incorrect figure for the U.S. population count.