Equally remarkable, however, are the 24 states like Texas that are not spending a penny. The political divide is stark: Seventeen of those 24 are led by Republican governors and legislatures, including population heavyweights like Texas, Florida and Ohio. But of the 26 states that are spending money, only four are Republican-controlled.
Tight state budgets could be a factor. So could inertia; sinking millions of state dollars into census outreach is a fairly new idea. But few doubt that a prime factor is politics: An accurate census would include more people from harder-to-count groups like Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians and the poor who tend to vote Democratic.
If they do not participate, the population count would skew Republican — and so would political maps, based on census results, that legislatures will draw in 2021.
What I don’t understand in states like Texas is that an undercount will hurt not only in the size of the state’s congressional delegation; it also lessens the amount of federal funding overall. Do the other political considerations trump these?