The 2020 Census: Your Opportunity to Shape Our Future

You may not have realized it given the extraordinary time we are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the nation’s largest peacetime operation is well underway: the decennial census.

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau counts every person living in the United States — regardless of their race, ethnicity, immigration status, or age. The 2020 Census happens to be underway at precisely the same time we have been swept up in a global crisis. Despite this, the importance of the census cannot be overlooked; even at a time like this. 

In fact, the reality of today helps illustrate how critical an accurate census count is, perhaps more than ever before in our nation’s history.

Census data, which gives us a picture of how many people live in the U.S., and where, helps influence how $900 billion in federal funding is distributed to communities across the country. This money is for programs vital to the health of our communities: Medicaid, Medicare, WIC, SNAP, community-based hospitals and emergency services, just to name a few. It is also used for resources like schools, public transportation, affordable housing and job programs.

Millions of our most vulnerable neighbors, friends, and family members depend on these programs. The most diverse members of our nation, such as immigrants; families with young children; the elderly; people of color; and people experiencing homelessness are more likely to be missed in the census count. Those who aren’t counted risk losing out on such important resources that help keep their communities safe, healthy and vibrant.

What this means is something very simple: every single one of us deserves to be counted.

Just as we are crossing barriers of language, race, age and every facet of demographic identity to unite in bringing an end to the pandemic we’re facing — we must do the same for an accurate and complete 2020 census count.

A prime example of such profound unity is exemplified in a coalition of nearly 100 community-based organizations working together to ensure an accurate census count in Los Angeles County, the “hardest to count” region in the entire United States. Spanning every corner and community of Los Angeles’ 88 cities, 200 languages and 4,000 square miles, the We Count LA coalition is creatively and vigorously working in our current reality to make sure every Angeleno is aware of the census, why it’s important and urging them to fill out their census forms. Community efforts like this across the nation help us realize our shared humanity and the importance of being united.

One day, hopefully soon, we will emerge from this crisis. And when we do, our nation will be a vastly different place. We can already play a role in shaping that future beginning today by making sure every one of us is counted.

In tough times, we have our community to lean on. Let’s make sure we rely on one another so we can have a world that is better prepared, more safe and healthy for the rising generation. 

Play your part simply by completing your 2020 census form today.