Strengthening our democracy by ensuring a fair and accurate census that counts every person in America
The Constitution requires a census every 10 years to count all residents in the United States, regardless of background. Not only is the census central to apportioning political power, but the data also influence the allocation of more than $800 billion every year for services like schools, fire departments, and hospitals. All of us — from community members to state and local leaders — have an enormous stake in ensuring the accuracy of the count.
The 2020 Census is among the most important civil rights issues today. Historically, the census has excluded certain communities at disproportionately high rates, including people of color, urban and rural low-income households, and young children. When communities are undercounted, they are deprived of equal political representation and access to resources. What does that mean for people’s everyday lives? To start, more time in traffic, not enough community health centers, and overcrowded classrooms.
The Leadership Conference coalition and The Leadership Conference Education Fund’s campaign, Census Counts, are working in 20 states and coordinating local, state, and national organizations invested in a successful 2020 Census. Together, we are driving change to ensure that democracy works — and works for everyone.
Census Counts, a collaborative campaign led by The Leadership Conference Education Fund, mobilizes participation at the state and national levels to guarantee we count everyone in the 2020 Census, especially those communities that are hardest to count.
The census is the bedrock of representative democracy and impacts the nation’s ability to ensure equal protection under the law. It will take all of us working together to save the 2020 Census.
2020 Census Risk Factors
Adding an unnecessary and intrusive question about citizenship to the census form that goes to all households will discourage participation and threaten the accuracy of the count, especially in already hard-to-count communities. In January 2019, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to remove the citizenship question from the census. Now, Congress must act to block the question for good and lift any cloud of uncertainty if the issue remains tied up in the courts.
Privacy and Digital Security Concerns
2020 marks the first high-tech census. Modernizing the census is important, but technology also brings cybersecurity threats, real or perceived, and the challenge of the digital divide.
Climate of Fear
Political rhetoric and government activity by the current administration has created a climate of fear that could depress participation in many communities. Many people will be reluctant to provide personal information voluntarily to the government.
Civil Rights and Census Advocates Highlight Need to Keep the Citizenship Question Off the 2020 Census
WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference Education Fund, with Ethnic Media Services, hosted a telephone press briefing today featuring the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and the National Urban League to discuss the importance of the 2020 Census to communities of color and efforts to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.
Press Call Briefing: Tracking the 2020 Census and The Citizenship Question: Where Are We Now and What Are the Next Steps?
WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, January 30 at 2:00 p.m. ET, leading civil rights organizations and census experts will host a telephone press briefing to discuss the pending citizenship question lawsuits, including the New York federal court’s ruling to block the U.S. Department of Commerce’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, and the role of Congress in making sure the count is accurate and fair.
Civil Rights, Census Advocates Applaud Ruling to Remove Citizenship Question
WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference Education Fund, released the following statement after U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled in the New York cases to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census form:
Interested in learning more about the 2020 Census or getting involved with our campaign to ensure a fair and accurate count? Contact Beth Lynk, Census Counts campaign director, and let us know your thoughts.