The Importance of the Census
Every ten years, the official US Census Bureau makes its way to American households, inviting US residents to fill out a short questionnaire. The decennial Census is a constitutionally-mandated count of all people living in the United States’s fifty states and five territories. It can be completed online, by phone, or by mail in a matter of minutes. If you haven’t filled out the 2020 Census yet, I implore you to take five minutes out of your day to complete the form now.
Although completing the Census is a quick and easy task, responses have a lasting impact.
- The federal government uses responses from the Census for the next 10 years.
- This data helps determine how and where federal funds are distributed for the next decade.
- Schools, hospitals, and similar resources receive funding based on the numbers from the Census.
For the past few months, I have been working as a 2020 Census Ambassador with the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, posting about the count on my social media outlets and informing my community members about its significance. Through my work as an ambassador, I’ve come to recognize that federal reports such as the decennial census affect me and my community directly.
My parents can’t vote in government elections. Similarly, several of my friends and neighbors can’t vote due to their immigration statuses. Despite this, legislation is passed that affects them daily. Although they can’t vote in city, state, and nation-wide elections, every ten years the Census gives them the opportunity to make their voices heard because responses are completely confidential and cannot be legally shared.
The Census can uplift our Brown and Black communities. Now, more than ever, there is no room for silence. Being counted in the Census amplifies your voice and the voices of your community. It lets the government know that Black, Brown, and other minority communities are integral parts of our nation, and deserve to receive appropriate funding to pave the way for the future lawyers, doctors, politicians, and leaders of our country.
Author: Mariela Barrales, Y Census Ambassador