Gary D. Bass & Adrien Schless-Meier

Gary D. Bass is the executive director of the Bauman Foundation and affiliated professor at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. Adrien Schless-Meier is program associate at the Bauman Foundation.

Recent Articles

An Insidious Way to Underrepresent Minorities

Cuts in U.S. Census funding threaten to produce an undercount of minorities and the poor and to reduce their share of federal aid.

(Photo: AP/Jason E. Miczek)
African Americans, Hispanics, and other minority populations are in danger of losing representation in Congress as well as their share of more than $400 billion a year in federal funds for health care, education, job training, and community development. That possibility should get anyone’s attention, yet few have noticed that it will be the likely result if Congress cuts the budget for the U.S. Census Bureau to the extent it now threatens to do. The Constitution requires a decennial census to determine congressional apportionment, and federal law relies on the numbers to allocate funds among states and localities. Historically, the census has missed large numbers of people in poverty and racial and ethnic minorities. By the 2000 and 2010 censuses, however, the national undercount had dropped to less than 2 percent, due primarily to the Census Bureau’s dogged determination to walk America’s streets and knock on the doors of the roughly 100 million U.S. residents who...