2020 is more than just a presidential election year; it’s the year of the census. Simply put, the census is an attempt to calculate the headcount of every human—citizen or not—in the United States, and federally funded it is collected every ten years. There are very valid reasons why folks wish to avoid being counted or even answer their door when a census worker comes a-knockin, but undercounted areas suffer because of it. Addressing those concerns, it’s important to understand the benefit of this census and gain the resources that come with it.

2010/2020: 10 years ago and now

Minimum Wage:  $7.25 (2010, 2020)

Top 10 Hits: “Tik Tok” Kesha (2010), “Adore You” Harry Styles (2020)

President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law (2010)

Trump was acquitted by the Senate on these two counts of impeachment (2020)

 

The results of the census and money that will then be rationed to that community are huge, like in the trillions of dollars huge. And this is because almost every political and civic decision made is based upon those numbers. 

Much like voting, if you don’t get counted, you don’t count. All federal funds and programs, such as our schools, hospital, roads, the amount of money allocated to these programs are based upon those living there. The census is also a “one and done” because once conducted, that will be the determining number pulled for the next decade.

Who are the hardest to reach? Naturally the children, those in rural communities, immigrants and people of color. Declaring the census as one of her top political priorities, Stacey Abrams, who is a lawyer and former Georgia House Representative shares four points in hopes of educating and empowering those who really need to participate. These points are:

  1. This year, 80% of the census will be conducted online. This may make it more difficult for rural communities because an estimated 20-40% of those do not have internet access.
  2. The fear of citizenship question. The system can be weaponized by discounting non-citizens and artificially inflate the representation of the white non-Hispanic population, which isn’t who we are. She advises to avoid the fear of ICE, answer the census online, and to report a social security number is not a requirement. If you answer the census and someone comes knocking, you can hide under the bed knowing they aren’t from the census bureau.
  3. They’ll be able to find you, no matter. Abrams points out that if you have a cell phone or a light bill, they already know how to track you down. The census isn’t giving the federal government any information they don’t already have.
  4. Be counted, get your money. The results of this census is what will determine how much money will be allocated, from congressional leaders to every level of political power, the numbers from the census is where the juice flows to. 

When does the census take place? April 1, 2020, and we’re not joking. You can also learn more about the process and how-to-do your part here: 2020census.gov