Detroit Challenges 2020 Census Count

By: - April 6, 2022 12:00 am

Victoria Kovari, director of Detroit’s 2020 census outreach campaign, goes over Detroit’s hard-to-count neighborhoods in 2019. Detroit is the largest city to challenge 2020 census results, arguing the city might be undercounted by 30,000 people. Corey Williams/The Associated Press

Detroit is the largest city yet to challenge 2020 census results, citing a study showing low-income neighborhoods were undercounted by as much as 8%, possibly leaving out tens of thousands of people.

The city joins at least 20 others filing challenges under the Count Question Resolution program. Those don’t include a separate review of institutional living quarters, such as prisons and dormitories, that has drawn interest from college towns and other cities that found counting errors during pandemic chaos.

If Detroit’s count is reversed, it could help the city reclaim million in federal funding that is distributed by population. The 2020 census found the city lost more than 74,000 people since 2010, with a 2020 population of 639,111.

A study by the University of Michigan and Wayne State University released in December showed an 8% undercount of housing units in a sample of low-income neighborhoods in Detroit. The city acknowledges a population decrease, but officials think 30,000 people could have been missed. 

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.