WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it will be releasing the data from the 2020 census on Monday afternoon. The new population count that the bureau collected over the last year is used to reapportion legislative and congressional districts across the country in a process known as redistricting. These new maps will be enacted before the 2022 elections and could have significant consequences on the outcome if they are not fairly drawn or if Republican legislatures gerrymander their states to entrench their electoral power.
The release of the census data was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a series of roadblocks for the Census Bureau which traditionally relies heavily on door-to-door canvassing to capture information on under-represented populations with low response rates to mailers or online surveys. Republicans also worked to deliberately sabotage the census in hopes of an undercount of the population to help their electoral chances. The Trump Administration repeatedly attacked the process, shortening the deadline for data to be completed despite the pandemic and attempting (but failing) to add a citizenship question to the survey.