“I would tell people to encourage them to participate in the census because when they are counted, they are seen, and resources can come to your community.”
This interview with Ashley Allison of The Leadership Conference about the important role of the census for our democracy was originally released on October 5, 2018. She speaks eloquently about why we should all participate and be counted. We are reposting it because the Supreme Court ruled against including the citizenship question in the 2020 census.
Census data supports communities
Government and businesses rely on census data to provide the necessary services that make healthy and vibrant communities possible. The data reveals how many grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, or schools are needed, and even influence public transportation routes and budgets. An accurate and fair count will ensure that adequate resources are allocated.
Undercounting and the citizenship question
Asking whether the census participant is a citizen could decrease the count because people are afraid that it would undermine their safety and privacy. Undercounting hurts all communities because it will imply that they need fewer resources. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, a bipartisan body of mayors, has joined a lawsuit to take the question off the census.
The basis for political power
Political redistricting happens as a result of significant demographic shifts. After the 2010 census, 18 states changed their number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes, starting with the 2012 elections. Texas gained four seats, and Florida gained two. Another 6 states gained on seat each, while 8 states lost one seat, and New York and Ohio each lost two.
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Ashley Allison is the Executive Vice President of Campaigns and Programs at The Leadership Conference, the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition. It works on a wide range of issues, representative of the breadth of today’s civil rights movement from immigration to disability rights, to the census and religious freedom. If you’re interested in getting involved, email email@example.com and check out the Census Counts 2020 website.