Low Census Response Means Texas May Lose Congressional Seat

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More bad census news for Texas: our response rate has been so low that we may not gain the four Congressional seats projected for Texas during redistricting. Instead, we might only gain three. Considering that our population gains are predominantly in minority and urban areas, that's particularly bad for Democrats who are eager for fair, inclusive, representative representation.

From the AP:

Five states – New York, California, Texas, Arizona  and Florida – are perilously close to losing out on congressional seats because of lackluster participation in the U.S. census.

The five were average or below average in mailing back 10-question census forms when compared to other states, trailing by as many as 5 percentage points, according to the final census mail-in tally released Wednesday.

Based on recent population trends, New York, California and Texas had been estimated to fall just above the cutoff for the last House seats when they are redistributed next year. Waiting behind them in hopes of picking up additional seats are Arizona and Florida, which are already expected to gain one seat apiece.

Come on Texans, do you really want our Congressional representation to go instead to the paper-toting Arizonans or butterfly-ballot-confusing Floridians?

There's more bad news: Latino areas are likely to be some of the most under-counted, which is particularly perilous for Texas. Especially given Arizona's recent overreaching immigration-enforcement law, census workers have concerns that Latinos may be particularly hesitant to answer the door for the household-by-household census canvass that begins this weekend for non-responsive addresses.

So as the door-to-door portion of the census begins, please encourage everyone you know to respond, especially if they are members of hard-to-count populations:

“The census is not over,” said Groves, who noted the non-respondents were disproportionately low-income, lesser-educated or renters. “For those of you who haven't been counted in the 2010 census, this is your moment.”

Now's the time. Answer your door when the census comes by and get counted!  


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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