Minimizing racial disparities in the 2020 U.S Census

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- As racial tensions boil across the U.S., the Census Bureau says the agency is working to minimize disparities in the 2020 count.

FILE - In this Sunday, April 5, 2020 file photo, An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident is shown in Detroit. A top lawmaker says the Trump administration is seeking to delay deadlines for the 2020 census because of the coronavirus outbreak. U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said Monday, April 13, 2020 that administration officials also were asking that the timetable for releasing apportionment and redistricting data used to draw congressional and legislative districts be pushed back. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

“It’s used by local elected officials to redraw voting districts and boundaries, so your representation is impacted there,” said Michael Cook chief of the Public Information Office at the U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. Census comes around once a decade. You can respond online, on the phone, or by mail. Cook says your personal information is confidential and the U.S Census provides vital data about the American people and the economy.

“You have businesses that use that information to determine and to justify making investments in your community,” he said.

In communities of color, however, Cook acknowledges the tally is off. He says black males between the ages of 19-29 and children are historically undercounted.

Federal government flow down creates resources for social services, such as head start programs, school lunches, and emergency support services. President of the National Urban League Mark Morial says, because of the count inaccuracies, many minority communities across the nation aren’t getting their fair share of funding.

“The Census is about money; the census is about power,” said Morial. “Without accurate information from the Census, the distribution then becomes maladjusted.”

Morial says some folks forgo filling out the form because of fear or distrust of the government.

He’s urging the Census Bureau to step up their educational efforts by creating additional offices and increasing door to door data collection.

Cook says the Census Bureau has spent more than 500 million dollars on public education, advertising, and outreach.

At the time of this report, 60 percent of the population has responded to the 2020 Census. Census workers are set to begin knocking on doors this month. The deadline to respond is October 31st.

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