Census 2010: How Is America Doing?

A news analysis from the Center For Urban Research is giving some clues on who and where are the non-respondents to the 2010 census. The analysis so far is finding wide variations from one city to the next in what degree race and ethnicity affect response rate.

Nationally, the Center For Urban Research (CFUR) found a consistent link between an area’s demographic composition and its response rate. But in a closer look at the nation’s 67 largest cities (250,000 people or more) the study found many exceptions to the nationwide patterns. On April 6, the nationwide participation rate was 62 percent.

The CFUR took in consideration trends from data published by the Census Bureau on April 6. The CFUR compared trends between urban/non-urban areas and analyzed correlation at the county level, between participation and race/ethnic characteristics. The CFUR also looked into relationship between unemployment rate and participation to the Census.

On average nationwide, there is a positive correlation at the county level between participation rate and the percentage of the population that is White, while the correlation between participation rate and the percentage of the population that is Black or Hispanic remains negative.

Within counties, however, race and ethnicity are even more strongly negatively correlated with participation than nationwide. In general, the greater percentage of Black or Hispanic population, the lower is the participation rate. At the county level, the study found that unemployment had a negative impact on the participation rate.

In the 67 largest cities, neighborhoods where a high share of the population is Black tend to have a below-average shares of households that have mailed back their Census forms. That is even more likely in St Louis and Boston, but the analysis found that the correlation is weaker in Houston and Atlanta among others, and it is the opposite in Detroit with a higher participation from Blacks than Whites.

Neighborhoods that are heavily white have above-average participation rates nationally, but in Honolulu white neighborhoods have lower participation rates than others.

Nationally, areas with high Hispanic population have a bellow-average response rate so far. But in Miami, Newark and New-York, three cities with substantial Latino populations, the Hispanic population participation rate is high.

The analysis from the Center For Urban Research was undertaken to help the Census Bureau and local governments target their efforts to encourage people to return their Census forms. As of April 9, the national participation rate is 65 percent. In comparison, the final participation rate of the last United States Census conducted in 2000 was 72 percent.

To read the complete analysis from the Center For Urban Research click here.


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