Illustration by Chelsea Lam

Stop ignoring the Census

Read Time2 Minute, 31 Second

The Census is conducted every 10 years to record data and count of residents from all 50 states in the U.S. and its five territories. The Census questions are based on residents’ age, gender, race, and housing situation. Filling out the Census is vital in providing each community with the representation needed for each state and federal funding for the next decade. 

Every state receives billions of dollars in funds to improve services and local institutions like healthcare, schools, and housing assistance based on data sets of each household and organizations. The Census funds many important programs in California schools such as the National School Lunch Program to reduce lunch fees for families with lower incomes. This program is especially important to students in low income families as it reduces the payment for their child’s lunch. Without federal funding and services provided by the Census, more families would struggle to receive the financial support they need for their kids. 

The Census also determines the number of U.S. state representative seats for each state. State representatives resolve concerns or issues circulating communities by adding different legislation. State representatives have passed legislations such as the “No Child Left Behind Act” where financially disadvantaged students receive extra educational support for improved academic progress. If there is a smaller count shown in a population than the actual amount, the government will assume there is a low population. With a small population count, the state is expected to lose seats and risks a majority vote on passing proposed legislation such as the “No Child Left Behind Act.” If this act had not won a majority vote, schools would not focus on minority students, such as those with low income, disabilities, or of color, to receive quality education and ensure that they are learning. The more representatives from each state, the more voices on certain issues will be heard. 

Many may be wary of completing the 2020 Census because of the Trump administration’s proposal to add citizenship status in 2018 to enforce the Voting Rights Act. Adding the citizenship status question would deliberately undercount responses from noncitizens, since they would consistently respond with inaccurate answers. This concern could be linked with Trump’s scheme to uncover communities with potential non-citizens, which could lead to less funding for those communities. However, a confirmation permanently blocked the Trump administration from including the citizenship status on the 2020 Census. 

The best solution for the lack of Census responses should be to further inform K-12 students in school about the Census’s importance and sharing it with their family who may lack knowledge or reason to do it. Local communities, such as the cities of Rosemead and Pasadena, have continuously promoted the 2020 Census before the Oct. 15 deadline to ensure that everyone is counted. More people need to be prepared to begin filling out the Census, as it can be done in 10 minutes and provides benefits needed for the next 10 years.

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