ASA Task Force Releases Report on Quality of 2020 Census State Totals

The Task Force on 2020 Census Quality Indicators convened by the American Statistical Association (ASA), a COSSA governing member, released its final report on September 14. That task force, chaired by former U.S. Chief Statistician Nancy Potok, was formed in September 2020 to assess the quality of data from the 2020 Census, given the challenges of conducting the census during the pandemic and concerns about political interference from the Trump Administration. The task force evaluated a set of 10 state-level “process statistics” relevant for evaluating the quality of census state-level totals used for apportionment and concluded that it found “no evidence of anything other than an independent and professional enumeration process” and “no major anomalies that would indicate census numbers are not fit for use for purposes of apportionment.” However, the task force did not have access to sufficient data to “more thoroughly evaluate the quality, accuracy, and coverage of the 2020 Census” and that additional assessment is needed to evaluate the quality of data used for apportionment and distribution of federal funds. That task force further recommended that the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), which is conducting a more comprehensive assessment of the Census, pay close attention to “the increase in missing household characteristics, new procedures for counting overseas population, late-breaking changes in methods for using administrative records to enumerate nonresponding households, increased uses of imputation including for group quarters, and prompt determination of any increase in undercount of Black and Hispanic populations and children relative to 2010 based on demographic analysis.”  In addition, the task force recommended that the 2030 Census planning process allow the assessment of data quality prior to the release of data as opposed to doing it after the fact. The full task force report is available on the ASA website.


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