New Report on 2020 Census/Rural America

In a new report issued this week, demographer Bill O’Hare says “little has been written about the special challenges that will make some rural areas and populations difficult to enumerate accurately.”

Dr. O’Hare’s report notes five particular regions or populations in rural America that will be particularly hard to count in the 2020 Census:

  • Blacks in the South
  • Hispanics in the rural Southwest
  • American Indians living on reservations and Alaska Natives
  • Residents of deep Appalachia
  • Migrant and seasonal farmworkers

O’Hare’s report says a majority of Hard-To-Count (HTC) counties (79 percent) in the U.S. are rural areas. Overall, 16 percent of all the most rural counties fall into the HTC category.

“The heavy reliance on the internet in the 2020 Census may pose a special concern for rural residents,” O’Hare concludes. “Data show that good internet access is less likely to be available in rural areas and a test (in West Virginia) that might reveal difficulties has recently been cancelled.”