Leading County Efforts for a Complete Count
March 1, 2021
If the census undercounts our community, we’ll lose funding and political representation. We need to organize and make sure everyone gets counted. https://t.co/2PHTDrfpfq— Michael Chameides (@chameides) September 6, 2018
The census is constitutionally mandated and foundational to our government. Political representation is apportioned based on the census. In addition, funding for local infrastructure and services depends on an accurate census. The community needs to work together to ensure everyone is counted.
I worked on a $30,975.00 New York State grant to fund our census outreach efforts. Columbia County partnered with the Columbia County Library Association and Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood to reach hard-to-count communities. I also organized public engagement events and networked with stakeholders.
Columbia had the 5th highest increase in self-response rates from 2010 to 2020 in New York State. And had the highest increase for a rural county.
Funding Essential Programs Depends on Accurate Census
The census data is used to fund many of our most important government programs, including:
- Medical assistance
- Nutrition assistance
- Highway and transit funds
- Education, including Pell grant, school lunch, school breakfast, head start
- Economic assistance, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Section 8, foster care, child care, low-income energy assistance, workforce training, community grants, social services, AmeriCorps
- Disaster recovery
- See full list
Census and Privacy
Census data is private, and all information is anonymized before being released. Census employees take an oath to safeguard the data, and there are significant fines for any violation. Government agencies, outside the Census Bureau, only have access to the public, anonymized data.
Over the past 10 years, Congress has consistently underfunded the census, which means the type of testing that historically has been done has been shortchanged… They canceled a planned Spanish-language test census. They also significantly reduced testing in rural America.
Robert Santos, Urban Institute
The Supreme Court has struck down the inclusion of a citizenship question. Even though census data is private and anonymous, the inclusion of such a question, according to the Census Bureau, would reduce response rates for non-citizens by eight percent and lead to an overall drop of two percent for all households.
- Council on Children and Families Census Prep
- Count Every Child
- Counting Young Children
- Outreach Toolkit
- Citizenship Question Myths
- Complete Count Committee
- Hard to Count Areas
- Counting for Dollars
- Historical Index of Census Questions
Would you like to help get a complete count for 2030? Contact me.