Despite challenges faced by the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Ron Jarmin, acting director of the Census Bureau, says in a July 28 blog post that the local-level results set to be released today "are high quality and are fit to use for redistricting."
"Every way we’ve analyzed the 2020 Census — through our extensive reviews during data processing, by comparing the numbers to population benchmarks, and looking at the operations — the census data are high quality and are fit to use for redistricting. In fact, the quality of the 2020 Census data is quite remarkable amid all the challenges we faced last year," Jarmin writes.
The acting director noted the pandemic "significantly delayed our schedule for collecting and processing the data for the 2020 Census" and he described how the pandemic's impact may be reflected in the data.
"Our results also will likely show some effects from the current pandemic. For example, some people relocated, and based on the 2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations, they may have been counted in a different place than they would have lived otherwise," he writes.
According to the Census Bureau, the data set to be released today will "include the first demographic and housing data from the 2020 Census that allow us to see demographic and population changes around the nation."
The data will be made up of:
- Housing unit counts
- Occupancy status for housing units (occupied or vacant)
- Population totals
- Population totals by race
- Population totals by race and Hispanic/Latino origin
- Voting-age population (age 18 and older) totals by race and Hispanic/Latino origin
- Population totals in group quarters by major group quarters type
Some more context: Congressional districts are redrawn every 10 years, using the latest Census data — along with data points ranging from education levels, wealth and historic voting patterns — to draw congressional seats. In the majority of states, maps are redrawn and accepted by state legislatures, with many giving authority to the state's governor to either approve or deny the new districts. Only a handful of states rely on relatively independent commissions to determine new maps.
CNN's Dan Merica contributed reporting to this post.