Today is a day that comes only once every 10 years: Census Day, when we count everyone living in the United States. It’s quite an extraordinary undertaking.
Of course the coronavirus pandemic has most of us thinking about other things. Public health precautions and economic turbulence are necessarily top of mind at this time of uncertainty. Many people are feeling powerless.
But the 2020 Census actually offers an opportunity to do something powerful from wherever you are right now. Using a computer, mobile device, or telephone, you can complete the census.
How is that a powerful act? Because census data drives money, power, and truth. Information from the census is used to allocate more than $675 billion in federal funds for essential programs (money); apportion congressional seats and inform state legislative district boundaries (power); and provide the facts (truth) that inform infrastructure investments essential to opportunity and quality of life – such as schools and highways.
Participating in the census, and encouraging others to do the same, is the best way to ensure the federal government has accurate information to guide fair decisions about resources for the next 10 years.
A complete census ensures that every person is counted. A census that misses some people can produce data that does not accurately describe who lives in our cities, towns, and neighborhoods. The result? Unfair allocation of funding and representation, and a distorted picture of community needs.
It’s also true that some people with certain characteristics – such as low-income households, people of color, and children under age 5 – are missed by the census more than others. It is especially important to remind people who might be vulnerable, feel disenfranchised, or distrust government that the census is important, safe, and confidential.
So on this Census Day, while you are following the guidance to stay safe and stay home, please take that powerful step and complete your census. Make sure you are counted and encourage others to do the same. Even while we are distant from one another, together we can make a huge impact on the future of our communities.
Complete your census online at my2020census.gov.
Need more info about Census 2020? This short video provides all the details.