An analysis of government data by the Associated Press has determined Detroit will be the hardest American city to get an accurate population count in the 2020 census. Its high rates of abandonment and poverty and spotty internet access will make the job complicated.
Much is at stake. The U.S. Census, performed every 10 years, determines federal aid to states and, critically, seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The AP reports, via the Freep:
Nationwide, about a quarter of the population lives in hard-to-count neighborhoods, including a majority of people in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Memphis, Tennessee, and Fresno, California.
About 86 percent of Detroit's population lives in hard-to-count neighborhoods, by far the largest proportion of any major U.S. city, the AP analysis found.
What's more, residents may see little reason to cooperate with the government as it goes about counting heads:
Annette Brock, who lives northeast of downtown, said some residents see no connection between answering questions from the government and improving their lives.
Much of this year's census is expected to be done online, but there is always a role for human census-takers, who will do their best in places where forms are not filled out and returned. The story reports that about 70 percent of Detroit residents turned in their 2000 Census forms. That figure fell to 64 percent a decade later, when the national rate was 74 percent.