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The 2020 Census may have undercounted Arizona’s population by about 48,000 people, according to one estimate, part of a national undercount of 0.5%. But even if that estimate turns out to be true, it’s better than some feared given the historic challenges the bureau faced last year with a pandemic and last-minute legal fights.

The 2020 Census - particularly challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic and a heated political climate - may have missed more than 1.6 million Americans, about 48,000 of them in Arizona, with the undercount disproportionately falling on minority groups. Read more»

Whole Women's Health in McAllen, Texas.

Arguing that Texas’ near-total ban on abortion defies the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Biden Justice Department on Monday urged the high court to lift an order that allowed enforcement of the law to continue. Read more»

Licensed professional counselor Shaine Malekgoodar, seen in monitor screen, can connect with patients in satellite locations or at home.

Major health systems, clinics and private practices pivoted swiftly to telemedicine when the pandemic forced the nation to shelter in place and patients could no longer safely venture into health care settings, but video services were not equally prepared for the titanic influx in users. Read more»

The biggest problem for redistricting is how differential privacy changes population data at the block level on racial and ethnic demographics.

A new effort by the U.S. Census Bureau to protect people’s privacy could make it harder for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission to draw districts primarily composed of people of color that will withstand litigation under the Voting Rights Act. Read more»

Transit fares will remain free for the rest of 2021, according to Sun Tran, who began offering free rides in March, 2020, in response to the pandemic.

Transit agencies and cities around the country are considering scrapping or reducing fares after the pandemic highlighted transit inequities, as the majority of those who continued to ride buses and trains were lower-income essential workers, often people of color. Read more»

U.S. Army Pfc. Ricardo Cajero gives boxes of hot meals to a driver at the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, April 19, 2020. Texas Military Department service members have been active in providing support to local communities through partnerships with food banks across Texas to meet unprecedented levels of need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United States is slowly emerging from the COVID-19 economic recession; unemployment has dropped by more than half, people are spending more money, and families are paying off their credit card debt again - yet these milestones mask an uncomfortable truth: The economic recovery is mostly benefiting white families. Read more»

A House committee debate in Washington over the effect of voter ID and other laws on voting access echoed debate in Arizona, where state lawmakers are considering bills to stiffen voting requirements.

Democratic and Republican members of the House Administration Committee stuck largely to their talking points during a hearing on the effect that voter ID laws, proof-of-citizenship requirements and lack of language assistance have on elections, with one side saying the changes protect and the other side saying they restrict voting. Read more»

There is no evidence that federal pandemic unemployment benefits had a substantial effect on employment after the $600 benefits expired in July 2020, according to a February 2021 study by a researcher with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In at least 22 states, federal unemployment assistance is being retracted by Republican governors who plan to end the pandemic-related benefits as early as June, yet economists say cutting off federal aid affects people’s livelihoods—especially for people of color and residents of rural areas saddled with slow job growth, lackluster transportation options and limited opportunities. Read more»

Technology with multilingual function can be used to better communicate with non-English-speaking patients and staffers.

Hospitals across the country have reported more hospitalizations and deaths of Black and Latino patients than of whites, and lower-income communities with patients who didn’t speak much, or any, English had a 35% greater chance of death. Read more»

More than 300 elections bills have been filed this year in state legislatures around the country, according to the Brennan Center, which said the 23 bills in Arizona was third-highest in the country. Supporters say the bills protect election integrity, but critics say they merely make it harder for voters, often voters of color, to cast a ballot.

Voting rights advocates and Arizona Democrats on Wednesday denounced a bill that would remove voters from the Permanent Early Voting List, calling it an attempt to disenfranchise up to 150,000 voters, particularly those of color. Read more»

Arizona has long been a leader in voting by mail. The state enacted a law permitting no-excuse absentee voting in 1991, and established the PEVL in 2007. The overwhelming majority of Arizonans vote by early ballot.

A bill that could remove tens of thousands of voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List is one step closer to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk after a day of partisan rancor and procedural maneuvers in the Arizona House of Representatives. Read more»

Miachelle DePiano, who questioned whether employers valued her work as a veteran after she left the Army two decades ago, works as a policy analyst and owns her own photography business.

In 2019, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed the unemployment rate was lower for veterans than for nonveterans. But the financial outlook for vets has drastically changed since then, with unemployment jumping to 5.5% in January 2021, from 3.5% in January 2020. And, according to data and interviews, women and minority veterans often have a tougher time getting a job. Read more»

Mammograms are among the routine cancer screenings that have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year. Advocates now are urging Americans to get these potentially life-saving procedures.

Cancer screenings in the U.S. have plunged since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago, prompting health advocates to increase calls for the public to stop postponing these potentially life-saving procedures. Fear of getting COVID-19 at screening centers and job losses that have affected insurance coverage are among the factors driving this dangerous trend. Read more»

A group of teachers and parents held a rally at the Arizona Capitol to oppose the state’s school reopening plan and delivered a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey on July 14, 2020, calling for online learning to be required through the COVID-19 pandemic and for additional funding for schools.

A group representing Arizonan educators, students and community allies delivered a letter to Gov. Ducey at the Capitol on Tuesday calling for funding online learning at all schools to give districts time to retrofit their campuses to be safe gathering venues. Read more»

Leaders of some of many minority organizations  leave the Republican National Committee offices after meeting with members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.

Leaders of about 20 minority advocacy organizations met with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team in a closed-door meeting Wednesday in what advocates said they hope was one of many meetings to come. Read more»

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