Hansi Lo Wang

Updated June 30, 2021 at 2:22 PM ET

A three-judge court has rejected Alabama's request to force the U.S. Census Bureau to move up the release of 2020 census redistricting data. The federal judges have also allowed the bureau to continue plans for a new way of keeping people's census information confidential.

Updated June 12, 2021 at 8:39 AM ET

Many Black Lives Matter activists have taken to the streets across the U.S. in recent weeks to voice their support for pro-Palestinian causes, including calls against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Updated June 14, 2021 at 5:27 PM ET

As the country waits for more results from last year's national head count, the U.S. Census Bureau is facing an increasingly tricky balancing act.

How will the largest public data source in the United States continue to protect people's privacy while also sharing the detailed demographic information used for redrawing voting districts, guiding federal funding, and informing policymaking and research for the next decade?

This week, Minnesota's state demographer finally got the numbers she's spent years waiting for.

"I didn't expect to be as nervous as I eventually was as they were unveiling these numbers," says Susan Brower, who was among those glued to the Census Bureau's livestream about the first set of 2020 census results that determine how many seats in Congress and votes in the Electoral College each state gets for the next decade.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The first results of the 2020 census revealed some astonishing numbers this week. The national count is used to determine how many seats in Congress each state receives for the next decade. New York has lost one of its seats. That would not have happened if the state's census counts included just 89 more residents. But as NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports, there was an even smaller number in another state that made a big difference.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

The first results of the 2020 census finally came out yesterday. They told us which states gained or lost seats in Congress, and there was some unexpected news.

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Tens of thousands of U.S. service members who were temporarily deployed abroad last year could help shift the balance of power in Congress and the Electoral College toward states with military installations after the release of 2020 census results.

Approximately 97,000 troops were serving stints overseas on Census Day — April 1, 2020 — Pentagon spokesperson Lisa Lawrence tells NPR. And for last year's national tally, the Census Bureau followed a new policy that counted those deployed troops as residents of the areas from which they were assigned away.

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Updated April 20, 2021 at 2:53 PM ET

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is renewing a push that failed during the previous administration to extend the deadlines for reporting 2020 census results after the pandemic and Trump officials' interference disrupted the count.

For decades, the size of the U.S. House of Representatives has pitted state against state in a fight for political power after each census.

That's because, for the most part, there is a number that has not changed for more than a century — the 435 seats for the House's voting members.

While the House did temporarily add two seats after Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959, a law passed in 1929 has set up that de facto cap to representation.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The first results of the 2020 census will be out soon. High stakes here - they determine how many seats your state gets in Congress and how many votes you get in the Electoral College. Now, that can change every 10 years, depending on what the census produces. But there is one number that hasn't changed for more than a century. Here's NPR census correspondent Hansi Lo Wang.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: That number comes into focus once a decade, when Census Bureau directors announce, like Robert Groves did in 2010...

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In a historic move, President Biden is naming Robert Santos, one of the country's leading statisticians and the American Statistical Association's president, as his intended nominee to head the U.S. Census Bureau.

If confirmed by the Senate, Santos, who is Latinx, would be the first permanent director of color for the federal government's largest statistical agency, which is in charge of major surveys and the once-a-decade head count used for distributing political representation and funding around the United States.

Editor's note: A version of this comic was originally published in December 2020.

Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET

The Senate confirmed Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo on Tuesday as the next secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Even before taking office, former President Donald Trump's administration obsessed over the U.S. census.

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

The 2020 census data needed for the redrawing of voting districts around the country are extremely delayed and now expected by Sept. 30.

A senior Democratic aide who was briefed by the Census Bureau on Friday, but not authorized to speak ahead of the bureau's planned public announcement, first confirmed the schedule change to NPR earlier on Friday.

President Biden's nominee for overseeing the U.S. Census Bureau, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, said she intends to depoliticize the 2020 census and listen to experts at a federal agency that had been caught in a partisan firestorm during the Trump administration.

"I believe that we need to take the politics out of the census, and we need to rely on the experts," Raimondo, a Democrat, told lawmakers Tuesday. "The experts and statisticians in the Census Bureau are top-notch, so I, once confirmed, intend to rely on them."

The U.S. Census Bureau has stopped working on a Trump administration-initiated project to produce citizenship data that could have politically benefited Republicans when voting districts are redrawn.

Updated at 9:44 p.m. ET

One of President Biden's first executive actions has reversed former President Donald Trump's unprecedented policy of altering a key census count by excluding unauthorized immigrants. The change ensures that the U.S. continues to follow more than two centuries of precedent in determining representation in Congress and the Electoral College.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

The Trump-appointed director of the U.S. Census Bureau is stepping down close to a week after whistleblower complaints about his role in attempting to rush out an incomplete data report about noncitizens became public.

Updated Friday at 9:26 p.m. ET

The U.S. Census Bureau has halted all work on President Trump's directive to produce a state-by-state count of unauthorized immigrants that would have been used to alter a key set of census numbers, NPR has learned.

Updated Friday at 7:40 p.m. ET

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, the first woman to lead the country's smallest state, has been named President-elect Joe Biden's intended nominee for commerce secretary.

President Trump's bid to alter a key set of census numbers has hit another snag with the Census Bureau uncovering even more irregularities with the 2020 head count and the expected release of numbers delayed again.

Updated Friday at 2:49 p.m. ET

Saddled with delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic and last-minute changes by the Trump administration, the first set of 2020 census results were not ready for release by Thursday's year-end deadline for numbers that determine representation in Congress and the Electoral College for the next decade.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 6:06 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ducked a direct ruling Friday on whether President Trump can exclude undocumented immigrants from a key census count.

At issue in the case was Trump's July memorandum ordering the U.S. Census Bureau for the first time to exclude undocumented immigrants from the decennial census for purposes of reapportionment. The count is used to determine how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College.

Updated Wednesday at 12:12 a.m. ET

It's still not clear when the U.S. Census Bureau will release the first results from the 2020 census.

But when it does, the bureau estimates the count may show that the U.S. population has grown by as much as 8.7% since the 2010 census, which produced a count of 308.7 million people.

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