As we struggle with the uncertainty and challenges that arise amidst the current public health crisis, you may be wondering if the 2020 Census is still happening or if completing your census form even matters.
While the United States 2020 Census is adapting or delaying some of their operations to protect the health and safety of their staff and the public, the census is still underway, and the Census Bureau is committed to ensuring a complete and accurate count of all communities based on guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities.
Because the reality is the Census is that important.
The 2020 Census will provide data that will impact how we invest in our communities for the next decade, and now, more than ever, we cannot stand to lose critical funds that can go towards new schools, better infrastructure, and increased access to health care in our communities.
Planned Parenthood is proud to work with many partners throughout Michigan to ensure that the 2020 Census is fair and accurate. One of our partners that we have been so proud to work closely with is Voces de la Comunidad, a grassroots advocacy organization based in Lansing that amplifies the voices and lived experiences of the Latinx community.
This year, Planned Parenthood and Voces have traveled across the state — from local diversity clubs in high schools, to reaching out to local undocumented community members and pulling together local Latinx leaders — to do census outreach and education. Planned Parenthood of Michigan and Voces will be teaming up to host a virtual census themed Loteria on Cinco de Mayo.
Being counted in the 2020 Census is crucial for the distribution of federal resources such as Head Start programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and even political representation in local, state, and federal government.
Unfortunately, massive systemic barriers create an environment where certain populations, like families with young children, families with low incomes, immigrants, and Indigenous populations, have historically been underrepresented in census data.
The Trump Administration tried to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 Census, but it was blocked by the courts. Regardless, the attempt to add a citizenship question has created fear in households — native- and foreign-born, citizen and non-citizen, as well as mixed-status families — and people are concerned about participating, but everyone should be counted.
We can’t allow the administration to continually promote policies that deny our communities support for essential health care. We must actively fight back and ensure that everyone is counted, and we are grateful for our community leaders who work with us in the fight.
The last time we had a census was 2010. Our communities and their needs are different now. The 2020 Census will determine how the government spends over $800 billion in federal dollars — that includes how many dollars go to reproductive health care programs.
Census data determines funding to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Title X, the nation’s only program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care, and Medicaid, which one in five women of reproductive age rely on. If our communities are under-counted on the census, Michigan will receive less money for federal programs like Medicaid. That’s money lost that could pay for birth control, STD tests, and lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings.
Indeed, the current public health crisis we are facing as a nation only underscores the importance of ensuring that our communities are counted to receive these vital health care resources.
Fortunately, the Census is now more accessible than ever for you to complete from the comfort of your own home. Just ten minutes of your time can have an impact on the next ten years.
When your household receives an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census, the mailing will include detailed information and a unique Census ID for your household. This Census ID will be used to complete your census form online, by phone, or by mail. Self responding to the 2020 Census is the best way to ensure that no one comes to your door, and data collected from self-response is more accurate than data collected during Nonresponse Follow-up.
For more information and resources around the 2020 Census, check out some of the websites below for all your census questions:
And check out this one hour 2020 Census chat with our PPAM staff and Voces de la Comunidad HERE.
Remember, every person who resides in the U.S. has a constitutional right to be counted, so do your part to support a fair, accurate census by self responding to your census form today!