The 2020 US Census is only five months away. This nationwide population count, which takes place every 10 years, determines everything from Social Security payouts to how the government spends money on schools and hospitals to where businesses open new stores—and everyone is worried about attempts to skew the count.
Some groups, like young children, have always been hard to count. But the post-2016 era has provided something new to worry about: disinformation campaigns—run by internet trolls, or foreign powers that want to see congressional representation change—that encourage people to avoid the Census entirely. That would lead to undercounting, which means less money, resources, and power for certain communities. An analysis from the Urban Institute found that Latino and black populations in particular are likely to be undercounted next year, in part because the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the Census has made immigrant communities afraid of answering the survey and then being deported.