By ASTRID GALVAN and MIKE SCHNEIDER for AP News/ The original text appears here
SOMERTON, Ariz. (AP) — It’s a Thursday evening in Somerton, Arizona, and parents and students packed inside a middle school gym are roaring for the school’s wrestling team at decibels that test the eardrum.
The young wrestlers are seventh and eighth graders who will be among the first to attend this town’s first public high school, which was approved just weeks ago after years of lobbying by local officials. The overwhelmingly Hispanic community has grown enough over the last decade that it’s also building a new elementary school.
But the Census Bureau says Somerton actually lost 90 residents during that time, putting its official population at 14,197 people, not the 20,000 that the mayor expected.
“So we’re trying to make sense of where these numbers are coming from, because they do not make sense whatsoever,” said City Manager Jerry Cabrera, who cited 853 new homes over the past decade as evidence of growth.
An accurate census is crucial for the distribution of hundreds of billions of federal dollars, and it determines how many congressional seats each state gets. But a review by The Associated Press found that in many places, the share of the Hispanic and Black populations in the latest census figures fell below recent estimates and an annual Census Bureau survey, suggesting that some areas were overlooked.
For the share of the Black population, the trend was most visible in southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, including Alabama, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. For the Hispanic population, it was most noticeable in New Mexico and Arizona.