Census 2020: Why Our Communities Deserve an Accurate Count
By: Sergio Cuellar
California is us. It is made up of our stories, communities, accomplishments, families, love and dreams. We matter, and it is up to us to ensure that our state and our country represents each and every one of us. With our communities under constant threat from the federal government, and as the COVID-19 pandemic creates a great deal of uncertainty for our future, the 2020 Census is now more important than ever.
For the next ten years, this count will determine how resources, funds and power will be distributed across communities across California, and our country. There is almost $700 billion in federal funding at stake, $77 billion of which is received by California. This funding supports crucial services, including quality education, family-sustaining wage jobs, reliable transportation, health and wellbeing and affordable housing. Data from the census also impacts who represents us on the federal level, as it is used to determine how many representatives each state gets in Congress, and to draw election districts for local elected officials.
As important as the Census is, most often, low-income and communities of color get left behind. California has one of the highest number of “hard-to-count” (HTC) residents, including Latinos, immigrants, young children, lower-income families, renters and the homeless. We know that there is a risk of the 2020 Census leading to the “worst undercount of Black and Latino people” nationwide, and that Native American and Asian Americans have historically been underrepresented and counted inaccurately. Additionally, one million children were missed in the 2010 Census nationwide, with young Black children underrepresented at twice the rate of their non-Black peers.
Through CFBMoC’s lifecourse framework, we know how crucial it is for our young people, particularly young people of color, to have systems and resources that support their health, wellbeing and education from early childhood all the way into their career. With numerous systems already disproportionately impacting boys and men of color, California’s response to the Census is an opportunity to ensure our young people are getting access to quality care, education and jobs, and are supported by policymakers that see their success as a crucial piece to the wellbeing of our state. If we want to see our state thrive, we can’t afford to leave anyone uncounted.
We have the power to shape our state. As the future remains uncertain, and our institutions remain in peril, we can act by supporting our democracy and taking a stand to say “Count us in.”
Below is a list of resources that we have compiled to make sure all of our communities understand what the Census means for them, and are counted.
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice: Why the Census Matters for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities Fact Sheet
- Black Census Project
- California Community Foundation’s Census 2020 Outreach
- Cal Matters: 2020 Census Explained
- East Bay Community Foundation’s Census Resource page
- Latino Community Foundation’s 2020 Census Resource Page
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Counting Black Children Webinar and Census 2020 Resource page
- Native People Count California
- RYSE Center’s 2020 Census Resource page
- San Francisco Foundation’s giving opportunities to support organizations doing outreach
- The California Endowment’s “Why the 2020 Census Matters”
- The California Wellness Foundation’s Why the Census Matters
- The Center at Sierra Health Foundation’s San Joaquin Census Research Project, Census commentary and Census 2020 News and Resource page
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