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675 BILLION (675,000,000,000) REASONS

TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2020 CENSUS

 

On March 29, 2018 the Census Bureau sent to Congress questions it planned to ask for the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey.  Therein, Ron Jarmin stated, “The goal of the census is to count every person living in the United States once, only once and in the right place…   The 2020 Census is easy, safe and important. The census asks just a few questions and takes about 10 minutes to respond...”  In terms of its full ramifications, the 2020 Census is much more than “using a few questions over 10 minutes to take a snapshot of those living in America.” 

The very significant reality which all citizens should take note of is that the Census and American Community Survey data will be used by all levels of government officials to appropriate $675 billion for things such as highway and school construction; emergency preparedness and disaster recovery; services for seniors and children; enforcing civil rights legislation; and developing Congressional Districts.  Further insight can be gained by considering the following utilizations from the Census Bureau Data in Fiscal Year 2015:

  •         Medical Assistance Program HHS $311,805,244,413
  •         Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program USDA $71,035,786,000
  •         Medicare Part B Physicians Fee Schedule Services HHS $70,300,000,000 **
  •         Highway Planning and Construction DOT $38,479,013,855
  •         Federal Pell Grant Program ED $29,916,694,438
  •         National School Lunch Program USDA $18,915,944,292
  •         Temporary Assistance for Needy Families HHS $17,225,738,021
  •         Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher HUD $15,761,488,440 *
  •         Title 1 Grants to Local Educational Agencies ED $14,253,154,251
  •         Special Education Grants to States ED $11,382,885,850
  •         Head Start HHS $8,538,887,781

https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial/2020/program-management/working-papers/Uses-of-Census-Bureau-Data-in-Federal-Funds-Distribution.pdf

If you have given any thought to not completing the upcoming Census survey, then consider the fact that using age data, for example, the Census Bureau indicated, “... Knowing how many people in a community are aged 60 and older helps local officials provide programs and services that enable older adults to remain living safely in their homes and communities…  Age data are also used in programs that provide services and assistance to seniors, such as financial assistance with utilities… age data are used in targeted efforts to enroll eligible people in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.   …Knowing how many children and adults depend on services through schools helps school districts make long-term building, staffing, and funding decisions…”

The Bureau also indicated that race data are useful for the following purposes: 

“• Establish and evaluate the guidelines for federal affirmative action plans under the Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program.

• Monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

• Monitor and enforce equal employment opportunities under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

• Identify segments of the population who may not be getting needed medical services under the Public Health Service Act…” https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/2020/operations/planned-questions-2020-acs.pdf  

               As important as the Census data are for assisting with our population’s welfare, it remains a fact that some will attempt to gather and make use of data for questionable purposes.  For example, the “fox” is already “in the hen house” licking his chops as POTUS indicates that there is no hidden motive for the 2020 Census asking a question about citizenship status.  Any immigrants who believe that should go listen to George Strait singing, “I got some ocean front property in Arizona; From my front porch you can see the sea; If you'll buy that I'll throw the golden gate in free…”  Indeed, since 1850 there have been those politically motivated to ascertain the “nativity” of the population, i.e., the extent to which the population consisted of those born in America or were born in a foreign country but had one parent who was a citizen as opposed to all others who are “foreign born.”  Fortunately, as of this writing, 18 states have filed lawsuits to prevent the citizenship question from being used in the 2020 Census.

Similarly, there are many political machinations pertaining to race.  2012 Census data might well have fed the White hysteria related to “taking back America” by reporting, for the first time, there were more minority babies born than White babies –that the “browning of America” was becoming a reality.  Added to this particular scare for some is the fact that the Bureau still has not “gotten it right” in terms of producing an accurate count when it comes to race as well as a number of other factors.

               The Census Bureau has been collecting data every 10 years since 1790.  Notwithstanding the many efforts to obtain an accurate count, children under 5 years-old, people who rent, African Americans, and Hispanics continue to be undercounted.   A May 22, 2012 CBS news report estimated that 1.5 million minorities were missed during the 2010 Census and, at the same time, approximately 360 thousand affluent Whites were over counted.   The consistent undercounting of African Americans, Hispanics, and poor people is enough to cause one to consider conspiracy theories!  Are we really to believe that the CIA’s World Factbook “…provides information on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities…, but our Government can’t accurately count Americans?

As noted at the outset, there is a plethora of good reasons for participating in the 2020 Census and this is especially true for those in greatest need of government assistance.  However, participation means much more than taking the first step of filling out the surveys.  We must follow-up with careful analyses of the results and be prepared to address the appropriate as well as misuses of the data. 

 

Jack L. Daniel

Co-Founder, Freed Panther Society

Pittsburgh Urban Media Contributor

April 6, 2018

 

 

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