Census Data Accuracy

The 2020 decennial census experienced multiple complex problems that impacted census operations and, ultimately, appear to have impacted the quality of census data. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Census Bureau operations and timeline, displacement or limited access to certain populations, cancellation of quality control tests, reports of inadequate staffing, first-time use of online and phone response options, and controversial executive policy decisions resulting in litigation all disrupted a process that is typically planned and tested down to the smallest detail.

Following 2020, census experts will need to conduct a data quality assessment to determine how flawed the final census data is and where it is flawed, law and policy experts will need to determine possible options for remedial action, and the field will need to learn from this experience to avoid (or at least better plan for) such problems in the future.

Goal: Assess the impact of multiple complex problems on the accuracy of the 2020 decennial census, support corrective action as needed, and recommend policy improvements for future censuses.


  • Assess the impact of multiple complex problems on 2020 decennial census data quality, including the extent of any inaccuracies overall and with respect to specific subpopulations.
  • Support corrective action to remedy census data integrity and alternative options if census data are too flawed for certain uses.
  • Recommend policy improvements for future censuses gleaned from assessment of the 2020 census.

The Foundation's statement on the Bruen case ruling

The Supreme Court’s ruling today in the Bruen case will make communities across America less safe. A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates that the mere presence of a firearm increases the risk of injury and death.

Policy Watch

Fairer Redistricting Initiatives Advance in Michigan and Ohio

Joyce grantees in Michigan and Ohio have played integral roles advancing policy for fairer implementation of legislative districts for all citizens in those states.

Policy Watch

Fairness in redistricting

Michigan residents have a chance to help craft fairer, more equitable legislative districts, and a coalition of nonprofit organizations is banding together to help community groups take advantage of the opportunity.


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Joyce supporting statewide census outreach efforts across the Great Lakes region, as well as the national Census Counts partnership. Having an accurate census count relates directly to the foundation’s promotion of fair representation and voting rights.


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Which state should hold the first presidential primary? One that’s most prepared, argues the Joyce Foundation’s democracy program director, Carrie Davis.