The Census Bureau will end its efforts to count every living person in the US a month earlier than expected, a move that will probably lead to an undercount of communities of color, poorer Americans and other hard-to-count groups.
Such an undercount would be catastrophic for those communities. The numbers from the census, which happens every 10 years, are used to determine how nearly $1.5tn in federal funds get allocated and how electoral districts are drawn for the next decade.
The bureau will shorten the deadline to respond to the census by a month and will end counting on 30 September, it announced on Monday. In April, the agency said it needed until 31 October to finish the count and asked Congress to give it a four-month extension of the 31 December deadline to produce data because of the Covid-19 pandemic.