A recent Census report showed increased levels of undercounting of minority populations in the 2020 Census; in the wake of that report, policymakers and demographers are wondering how to re-tool the Census to make sure all households are counted correctly.

Options include combining Census data with administrative records from other agencies, like the IRS.

As reported by the Associated Press:

“The current model of coming up with a master address list, mailing everybody an invitation — like you’re inviting people to a party and hoping they respond, and if not, you’re going to track them down — I think it’s an obsolete system,” said Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO Educational Fund, a nonpartisan nonprofit that supports Latino political engagement.

The undercounts in the 2020 census were blamed on the pandemic, natural disasters and political interference from the Trump administration, but undercounts of racial and ethnic minorities are nothing new to the census; they’ve been persistent for decades.”

In recent years, the cost of censuses and surveys have grown while public participation rates for surveys have declined. The bureau’s biggest between-census effort to take the measure of the U.S. population, the American Community Survey, produces 11 billion statistics from interviews with 3.5 million households each year, and the once-a-decade census tallies every U.S. resident for a count used in divvying up federal funding and congressional seats among the states as well as redrawing political districts.