Report suggests 2020 Census undercounted 8% of population in select Detroit neighborhoods

Posted at 5:37 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 18:52:09-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A new report suggests that the 2020 U.S. Census may have significantly undercounted Detroit’s population, which could cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid.

The analysis, which was done by the University of Michigan and Wayne State, found that in 2020, the census counted a population of 639,000 in Detroit compared to a 2019 estimate of 670,000.

The report indicated that a population decline of that size in one year is out of line with recent population trends both for Detroit and for similar cities.

"It is implausible to think the city's population declined by 31,000 residents in one year, so we are conducting research to examine how this could have happened," said Jeffrey Morenoff, U-M professor of sociology and public policy and faculty affiliate of the U-M Population Studies Center and Poverty Solutions [], in a press release.

Morenoff noted that the 2020 Census counted far fewer housing units compared to 2019 and an audit of housing in 10-census block groups, he said, undercounted the number of occupied housing units in the areas by 8%.

Further analysis, according to a press release from U-M, showed if the 10 census-block groups were undercounted by 8% or about 964 residents, and if similar miscounts happened across the city’s 600-block groups, the undercount could be in the tens of thousands.

U-M notes 2020 was the first time the census relied heavily on self-reporting online, which likely became a challenge in one of the least-connected big cities in the country.

WXYZ is awaiting comment from the Census Bureau.

Read the full report below:

Poverty Solutions Census Un... by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit