2020 Census: New York’s population undercounted by 225,000

New York

NEW YORK (WETM) – New York State’s population was undercounted by 1.1-percent in the 2020 Census, according to the Urban Institute — a nonprofit think tank focused on economic and social policy.

“It’s not uncommon for New York State, such a massive state, to be under-counted,” said Jennifer Wilson, deputy director of the League of Women Voters said.

The undercount means New York will lose one of its 27 congressional seats. According to the Census Bureau, if the state had counted just 89 more people, it would have kept all of its seats in the House of Representatives. It’s still unclear which district will lose a seat, though two separate maps show possible outcomes.


“It’s very, very concerning to hear that we had an underreporting of [the] population that could have and probably did cost us a Congressional district,” New York Assemblyman Philip Palmesano said.

Wilson says there’s a number of reasons New York’s Census count was undercounted. One major reason, she says: the political climate.

“I think a lot of people were afraid to see or to fill out their Census with people in the federal government saying to documented immigrants, ‘we’re gonna deport you,'” Wilson said. “I think a lot of people were really scared.”

Palmesano says he’s also concerned about the way those in New York’s prisons were counted, sighting a discrepancy in Wyoming’s Census count for those behind bars.

“I do have some concerns in the state regarding the Department of Corrections and the reporting of the prison population to the Census Bureau,” Palmesano said.

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