Akee Alarmed by Undercounting of Navajo Population

Associate Professor of Public Policy Randall Akee spoke with KJZZ News about the danger of undercounting the Navajo Nation population in the 2020 census. The coronavirus pandemic has hindered the self-reporting phase of the census; in April, fewer than 1% of Navajo had reported to the U.S. Census Bureau. Now, that number has risen to about 6.5% — still a fraction of the number that responded last time. Akee explained that it’s important for the census to get the numbers right. “Undercounting is horrible. It’s problematic because it affects everything from allocations of funding to congressional representation,” he said. Akee noted that funding for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was also based on population size. Undercounting of minority populations can drastically affect the allocation of federal aid and resources. Census workers are responsible for filling in missing data in order to account for lack of self-reporting.

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