Published Date: March 26, 2020

Study focus: Concern has been raised that immigrant populations — particularly Latino — may be less willing than others to participate in the 2020 U.S. census due to federal-level anti-immigrant rhetoric and practices. This brief estimates the dollar amount of health services funding Los Angeles County risks losing from an undercount of immigrants and how many children, students, older adults and families in the county would be affected by the funding loss.

Participants: Authors surveyed 100 county key stakeholders and service providers most likely to be impacted by an undercount.

Outcomes studied: Examines the effect that a 2%, 5%, and 10% undercount of Latino immigrants and U.S.-born Latinos would have on federal funding for Los Angeles County for health care and health promotion services that are provided for everyone in the county. These services include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps)
  • Early Head Start home visitation programs for children 0-3
  • Home-delivered meals for seniors
  • Section 8 Housing choice vouchers for low income households
  • Free and reduced-price meals in schools
  • Federally-Qualified Community Health Centers (FQHC)

Findings: Authors estimate from $117 million to $586 million dollars in federal funding could be lost across all programs in the county if Latinos are undercounted by 2% to 10% (up to nearly half a million individuals) in the upcoming census. Estimated effects of such funding loss include cuts of up to 30,000 meals to older adults and the disabled, up to almost 55,000 reduced-price meals to students, and health services for up to nearly 79,000 patients. 

This study is funded in part by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through UCLA CTSI Grant UL1TR001881 and the UCLA Resource Center for Minority Aging Research/Center for Health Improvement of Minority Elderly (RCMAR/CHIME) Grant AG021684.

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