PHOENIX (3 V/CBS 5) - The 2020 Census number for Arizona came out significantly lower than the US Census Bureau's 2020 population estimate for the state, meaning Arizona could be missing out on billions in federal funding over the next decade if the state's population was undercounted.
"I think that there was a significant undercount of populations here in Arizona," said Political Consultant Rodolfo Espino.
The state estimates that each person counted in the census is worth around $3,000 in federal funds, so if nearly 270,000 people didn't respond to the census, the state could be losing out on hundreds of millions per year, and potentially billions over the next decade.
Still, officials with the US Census Bureau said they were confident in their numbers when releasing the results on Monday.
"We had numerous quality checks built into collecting the data, and have conducted one of the most comprehensive reviews in recent census history during data processing," said Ron Jarmin, Director of the US Census Bureau.
Meanwhile, the Arizona State Demographer Jim Chang says they expected the original estimate to change.
“In my view, it looks like the July 1, 2020 population estimate for Arizona from the U.S. Census Bureau was on the high side. Whether it's the state or the Census Bureau, population estimates are just that - estimates. We always assumed we would be off, it's just a question of how much," Chang said.
But others remain convinced that the sizeable difference between the estimated population and the number recorded in the census point to an undercount.
Joseph Garcia with the Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund says that last minute changes to the census collection period combined with talk of a potential citizenship question on the census led many in Arizona's Hispanic community to not participate in the census.
"The message had already been sent," Garcia said. "The fears had already been planted. And as a result there was going to be a huge undercount especially among Latinos."