2020 Census

Karen Marquez, Kale Lowery, and Anahi Alonso

The United States’ next national census will be held in 2020, officially starting on April 1. The distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds to city, county, and state programs nationwide is determined by the data statistics taken from the census. The impact of the outcome of the census affects citizens directly, as well as overall at a national level, making the census important to everyone involved.

One of the main discussions leading up to this year’s census has been over the supposed addition of a citizenship question. This has brought many concerns to Americans, as well as people who are here illegally. However, the proposed question was rejected by the Supreme Court and was said to have violated federal law. The Secretary of the Commerce Department, Wilbur Ross, approved the citizenship question and claimed that the question was needed to help enforce the Voting Right Act. Once taken to court, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that the Commerce Department’s reasoning for the question was a mere “distraction” and was hiding the department’s true motives for the motion.

With the question of citizenship off the table, many Americans still are unsure what questions the 2020 census will ask. The questions asked will be for the person’s full name, how many people live in their home, what type of home they have, telephone number, sex, age, and race, and their relation to the main responder of the questionnaire.

While the Census Bureau seems to be taking in a significant amount of information to some, the information given is kept confidential according to the bureau’s Data Protection and Privacy Program. This means that the information cannot be used against you in court or by any government agency, and people who violate this face severe penalties. The framers of the constitution chose the population as the basis for sharing political power, not wealth or land. The census mainly aims to count the entire population and the location where each person lives.

The primary purpose of the information given to the Census Bureau is to be used for valuable and reliable statistics. One of the ways the data will be used is to count the population nationally, as well for each state individually. This also determines how many representatives each state has because it is based on population. The statistics created from the 2020 census will also support smaller communities and local governments as well. It helps city governments decide where a school or hospital should be built, as well as legislation and congressional districts.

It is in every individual’s best interest to participate in the census. Local community leaders in Dodge City are helping with these efforts. Bilingual census classes will be held to educate citizens on the importance of an accurate count for the census and how it will benefit them.