In this brief, author Bill O’Hare discusses how the 2020 Census will have ramifications for every person in the United States, urban and rural residents alike. Outlining the special challenges that will make some rural areas and populations difficult to enumerate accurately, he identifies rural areas where special outreach and operations will be needed to get a complete and accurate count. He reports that though the rural population is generally easier to count than the urban population, several places and populations in rural areas will be difficult to enumerate accurately in the 2020 Census. They include: blacks in the rural South, Hispanics in the rural Southwest, American Indians living on reservations and Alaskan Natives, residents of deep Appalachia, and migrant and seasonal farmworkers. In addition, heavy reliance on an internet response mode in the 2020 Census may cause problems in some rural areas, along with the worrisome cancellation of some tests of Census methodology in rural areas. He concludes that it is important that rural scholars, rural leaders, and rural advocates monitor Census Bureau funding and Census planning over the next two years to make sure there are adequate resources for a complete and accurate count of all rural residents in the next U.S. decennial Census

Publication Date

Winter 12-18-2018


National Issue Brief No. 131


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2017. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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