The census has been an issue with America’s citizens for some time. There are those who duck the census because they believe that they will be reported to government agencies and find out information that they don’t want the government to know. But, even with those who give information willingly, the census has its own issues of undercounting.
It was recently discovered that the census performed in 1940, a few folks were left off. In fact, over one million African Americans were not accounted for. One notable omission was tennis great Althea Gibson and her family. Her Harlem neighbor and “Manhattan borough historian emeritus” Celedonia “Cal” Jones remembered and told the Grio:
“I know she lived on the block, because she used to dominate the paddle tennis,” Jones said. “Her nickname was ‘tomboy.'”
According to census reports, the blacks were miscounted by 8.4 percent in 1940. The population count was 12.9 million, but it was supposed to be more like 14.1 million.The census is very important to all communities, but especially minority communities because of how the federal funds are distributed to each area. The amount of funds released to each city and state is based upon the amount of citizens that populate that city and state.
Phil Sparks, former associate director of the bureau and now co-director of The Census Project, which advocates for an accurate count said:
“It literally can mean the difference of tens of millions, hundreds of millions, of dollars.”
Who knows how this miscount effected the black community for many years to come. The census is only performed once per decade, so the funds that were lost because of a miscount could have resulted in lower resources to the black community for many years.
Read more here.