These days, it feels like the only thing in the news is the coronavirus. That’s one of the dangers of a pandemic: It can take over everything and hide the fact that there are still other vitally important fights happening. But 2020 is a historic year for many reasons, and another big one is that the 10-year census is happening right now.
The U.S. census happens once every 10 years and aims to survey and count every single person living in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. Getting an accurate count is vital for creating resources that help the government determine how billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated – be it to hospitals, fire departments, schools or infrastructure. Additionally, the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives is determined by census data, and it’s used to draw both congressional and state districts.
The results of the census will have ripple effects that touch everything from our daily commutes to our democracy. And we can’t let the current health crisis or the Trump administration’s cowardly distraction techniques keep the census from being administered as effectively as possible.
With country-wide endeavors like the census, it’s particularly important for people everywhere to spread the word. For example, the Pop TV comedy show One Day At A Time, which follows the lives of a Latinx American family, focused its recent season four premiere on how the 2020 census is critical for communities of color. In fact, Trump’s recent campaign to ask about citizenship on the census (which was blocked by the Supreme Court) was designed to scare people away from participating in order to allow his administration to undercount communities of color, slash funding for communities with critical resource needs, and suppress the voices of people of color at the ballot box. It’s a big deal for a sitcom to bring awareness to an issue like the census, and is just one meaningful way for the census to reach as many people as possible.
So what needs to happen now? We need you to get the word out about how people can #GetCounted.
While you’re social distancing and washing your hands to your chosen 20-second tune, tell your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors that taking the census is as simple as visiting 2020census.gov. We’re all counting on them to make sure the 2020 census helps our country become a more just and equitable place.