Editor's note

When a staff member at my brother’s small college tested positive for the coronavirus, the school sent students away and moved all classes for the rest of the year online.

Across the U.S., the same story has played out at many colleges and universities, with students leaving campus to move back into their parents’ homes.

Dudley Poston, a sociologist at Texas A&M University, points out that this scattering could have major consequences for the 2020 census. “Counties with large universities depend heavily on student responses to the decennial census,” he writes – but he estimates millions of students could now be undercounted.

Also today:

Aviva Rutkin

Data Editor

Top story

Howard University students moving out of dorms in Washington. Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

Students could be undercounted in the census as coronavirus closes colleges – here’s why that matters

Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Texas A&M University

Census data are used to determine federal funding on everything from highway construction to poverty services. With many students heading back to their parents' homes, college towns may take a hit.

Health + Medicine

Arts + Culture

Economy + Business

  • What happens to charitable giving when the economy falters?

    Patrick Rooney, IUPUI; Jon Bergdoll, IUPUI

    In past recessions, donors have tightened their pursestrings even as the need has grown. But two scholars explain why, at least for foundations, there's room for more generosity in tough times.

Politics + Society

Ethics + Religion

Science + Technology

Most read on site