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Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis: Mitigating the Risks of a 2020 Census Undercount

Join Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, for the next installment in Urban’s conversation series, Evidence to Action. During this virtual event, Diana Elliott, principal research associate at the Urban Institute, Arturo Vargas, chief executive officer of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, and Thomas Wolf, senior counsel and Spitzer Fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program, will join Wartell to discuss the continuing risks to the 2020 Census and how they can be mitigated.

The 2020 Census faced unprecedented challenges and threats to its accuracy even before the pandemic, which has only further jeopardized its accuracy. Underfunding and undertested process changes could result in serious miscounts, which are known to exacerbate racial inequities and diminish communities’ rightful political representation and shares of funding. 

Our conversation will explore the impact of a census undercount and highlight how policymakers can mitigate these shortcomings and respond to the inevitable flaws in the final census product. 

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  • Diana Elliott, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute @dianabelliott
  • Arturo Vargas, Chief Executive Officer, NALEO Educational Fund @ArturoNALEO
  • Thomas Wolf, Senior Counsel and Spitzer Fellow, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice @tomTMwolf
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute (moderator) @swartell

The Evidence to Action conversation series elevates the voices of leaders and changemakers responding to, recovering from, and building resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Urban Institute was built for this moment. We answer tough questions with unbiased, rigorous research and evidence-based solutions. For 50 years, we have studied what it takes to strengthen social safety net programs, dismantle structural racism, protect workers and families, and build community resilience. Using advanced analytics, data science, technology, and decades of expertise, we equip changemakers with the facts and insights they need to accelerate solutions.


We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Date & Time Tuesday, September 29, 2020

  • Senior Fellow, Research
  • President