2020 is the year of the Census! As early as the second week of March, households across the country will be receiving important notifications in the mail about filling out the Census.
Every 10 years, the U.S. government conducts a thorough count of the country’s population. The next Census, as this count is known, will take place in the spring of 2020. In 2010, the count reached 309 million. The decennial Census, which is mandated by the U.S. Constitution, is about much more than compiling a demographic snapshot of our nation. It is about the allocation of power and money.
The decennial Census provides essential data that will impact us for the next 10 years and beyond. It’s in the best interest of all of us that we make every effort to educate our communities about participating in the Census. It’s important to count every single person, once and only once, and in the right place. We must make sure that every person living in this country, regardless of immigration status, gets counted in the 2020 Census.
There’s a lot at stake. Census figures are used to determine political representation at all levels of government and to allocate federal tax dollars for critical programs such as Medicaid, federal student loans, food stamps (SNAP), Medicare part B, Head Start, highway construction and school lunches, among many others. In summary, the Census is about power and money. Read this article to understand why there’s so much at stake with the Census.
The 435 voting seats in the House of Representatives are fixed by law and proportionally represent the population of all 50 states, with each member of the House representing a set number of constituents. After the 2010 Census, Georgia gained one seat. The Peach State was one of only eight states that added representatives in Congress, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Congressional representation is also consequential because the number of a state’s representatives in Washington, D.C., factors into the all-important electoral votes that determine who gets to be president.
How tax dollars from Washington are allotted to states is also derived from Census numbers. Data from the decennial count determines the geographic distribution of about $900 billion dollars in federal funds. The biggest federal program that benefits Georgians is Medicaid, followed in order by federal student loans, food stamps (SNAP), Medicare part B, highway construction and Pell Grants, says a George Washington University report. Other programs include school lunch and breakfast programs; Head Start; WIC; low-income housing tax credits; Section 8 housing vouchers; community development grants; and many more.
Latinos account for 10% of our state’s residents, and they are among the hardest populations to count. There are many challenges that we face when counting our Latino population, compounded by the fact that the 2020 Census will be the first one done online.
More information will be published soon.
Below we are sharing some Census resources:
What is the Census and why it matters
Key dates for the 2020 Census
Where are the hard-to-count populations
The questions asked in the Census
The 2020 Census is the first online count
Census outreach materials
NALEO’s 2020 Census communications toolkit
Georgia Latino Complete Count Committee has website with resources in Spanish
Making sure Latinos count in the 2020 Census