GAO CALLS ON CENSUS TO DO MORE RESEARCH ON COUNTING HISPANICS

Feb 21, 2003
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today, Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Danny Davis (D-IL), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), and Charles Gonzales (D-TX) released a report conducted by the General Accounting Office (GAO) on the failure of the Census Bureau to count accurately Hispanic subgroups in the 2000 Census. The report is titled, "Decennial Census: Methods for Collecting and Reporting Hispanic Subgroup Data Need Refinement."

The request was made in response to the Bureau "redesigning" the question on Hispanic origin in the 2000 Census without first testing it. The Bureau states that they dropped the list of "subgroups" in an effort to simplify the questionnaire, but data released from the 2000 Census indicates a troubling drop in certain subgroups. For example, the reported count of Dominican Hispanics was significantly lower than the counts reported in other Bureau surveys.

In the end, the GAO report recommends that to make sure that the 2010 Census will provide public data users with more accurate information on specific Hispanic subgroups, the Commerce Secretary must ensure that the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau implements Bureau plans to research the Hispanic question, taking steps to properly test the impact of the wording, format, and sequencing on the completeness and accuracy of the data on Hispanic subgroups and Hispanics overall.

In a related development, the conferees reported in the Omnibus Budget Bill, passed by the House of Representatives on February 13th, that the Census Bureau faced difficulties in enumerating the Hispanic subgroups and urged the Bureau to continue to address these concerns in preparation for the decennial census

"This report shows that critical errors were made in the 2000 Census with regard to counting Hispanics. We must ensure that the Bureau makes the necessary steps to correct their mistakes so that we do a better job of counting Hispanics in the future," said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in a statement today. The report can be viewed in its entirety by going to:

https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/census/HispanicReportd03228.pdf

Highlights are available in Spanish by going to:

https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/census/SPANISHTRANSLATIONOFHIGHLIGHTS.pdf

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