The United States Census happens once every ten years, but it is one of the most notable events in our nation’s civic life.
The Census requires that every single person in our country is counted, regardless of citizenship status, income, or education levels. This count is used to provide federal funding for public services based on the number of people within a given area. It also determines how many representatives each state receives in the United States House of Representatives.
For Latinos in California, the Census is critical to the community’s economic and political power.
There are an estimated 15.3 million Latinos living in the state according to latest Census estimates. This demographic strength and vitality of the Latino community is seen in our schools, our workplaces, and in our communities.
Because we counted in the last Census, California received over $76 billion in federal funding for public housing, children’s health insurance, foster care and more. As the most populous state, California also has the most electoral votes in the country (55), which grants our state a significant political voice in presidential elections.
The 2020 Census is right around the corner. What is at stake is our rightful claim to public resources and political representation. We must protect our power in numbers and affirm our presence in the state!
There are concrete steps that local leaders and ordinary citizens can take to ensure we are properly counted in the 2020 Census.
Before December 15, 2017, state and local governments can sign-up to review, update, and correct the Census Bureau’s Master Address List. Through a process known as Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA), the Census Bureau will work with local governments from February through June 2018 to ensure that their addresses on file match what local governments know about where residents live in their communities.
If your county or city has not signed up for LUCA, it is time to pressure our local leaders to participate and ensure that not one person is missed in the next Census!
Partnerships between local government and Latino community-based organizations to update and correct the Census Bureau’s address list can help make sure that that every household gets an invitation to respond to the census.
Who knows our communities better than us?
Now let’s go get counted!