Did you know that the US Census is not only a constitutional requirement, but it also determines the number of seats in the House of Representatives, the amount of tax dollars that flow back into state and local municipalities, and influences a range of local decision-making from school construction, to business growth, and public transportation?
Believe it or not, but the 2020 Census will be here before we know it. Thus, on July 24, ACT for Alexandria staff attended the United Way’s Annual Community Meeting focused on the next census. The event was a call to action for the nonprofit community to mobilize, ensuring that every citizen is counted. United States Census Bureau representatives emphasized the ramifications of the Census – local and federal funding, business investment dollars, political representation, etc. - as well as the additional barriers that this year’s Census faces – mistrust in the federal government, a move to online data collection, reduced funding for Census work, etc.
While Census data collection has always been a challenge, the 2020 Census stands out as the most challenging to-date. At-risk populations such as children are perpetually undercounted while immigrant populations fear that census data can be used to identify and target them. The move to an online census has the potential to leave out citizens without internet access. A proposed citizenship question will alienate our large immigrant community.
In the past thirteen years, Alexandria’s Hispanic/Latino population has grown almost 39% and is the 3rd largest population segment in Alexandria. Demographic shifts such as this are essential to identify to ensure that the government, businesses and nonprofit organizations meet changing needs of our community.
In the months to come, ACT will be exploring the ways we can help ensure that 100% of Alexandrians are counted. Are you or your organization starting to think about the census? Share your ideas and thoughts with us. Do you want to get involved to ensure a complete count? Reach out to Hannah Lee Hannah.email@example.com to stay connected with ACT’s work.
-By Hannah Lee