The 2020 Census is more important to Washington than you think

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The 2020 Census is more important to Washington than you think

Why an accurate Census is critical to our communities and what you can do about it

By - October 25, 2018

Once every ten years, the U.S. government counts every person living in the country. Its goal is “to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.” It is central to our country’s democracy and well-being. The importance of an accurate population count – including accurate data about race, gender, age, and other demographics – cannot be overstated.

Nonetheless, leaders in the Trump administration have made it clear through their policies that accuracy is not their priority. Because of this, the 2020 Census faces the risk of an especially high under-count, due to insufficient funding, the possible addition of a citizenship question, and a shift from paper surveys to an online platform, to name a few. The stakes are high for Washington state and we must work collectively to ensure every Washingtonian is counted.

Here are three things you can do now to promote an accurate count in Washington:

  1. Advocate for more resources in the state budget for census outreach. Census planning and preparations have been underfunded by Congress over the last decade. As a result, the Census Bureau cancelled key tests, including the planned tests at Colville Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land in Washington state. In order to ensure a more complete and accurate count, Washington state should commit sufficient resources for Census outreach, especially to use in targeting hard-to-count populations.
  2. Form or connect with a local Complete Count Committee (CCC) in your community. A CCC can include government and community leaders from education, business, healthcare, and other community organizations. They serve as trusted voices that will help implement 2020 census awareness campaigns based upon their knowledge of local communities.
  3. Educate and motivate people to participate in the census. Spread the word about why it’s important for our nation, state, and communities – especially the impact it will have on our local schools, health care, emergency response, and other vital community services. Participating will build our collective power and voice as a state.
About Jennifer Tran, Associate Director of Social and Health Policy

Jennifer’s research at the Budget & Policy Center focuses on social and health policy. She oversees the Center’s Progress in Washington series, which tracks our state’s progress and identifies policy solutions to build a more inclusive economy.

Read more about Jennifer