The 2020 Census is crucial for Black communities

Photo by Sierra Lyons

The 2020 Presidential election has most of the nation’s attention. But the 2020 Census shouldn’t be forgotten, especially for minority communities who are often under-represented.

According to The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, more than 800,000 African Americans were under counted in the 2010 Census. There are certain demographics that are more at risk of being under-represented, referred to as “hard-to-count.” Often those living in poverty or those who aren’t homeowners are missed in the Census.

The Census impacts multiple areas of life including education, housing and healthcare. When statistics show that more than 800,000 African Americans were under counted in the last Census, it should make us turn our attention to this issue and do what we can to eradicate the problem.

The 2020 Census will present new challenges to communities that don’t have the proper resources as it will mostly be done online as opposed to door-to-door methods. Not only is the Census used to properly allocate resources to demographics, the government uses the data collected to appropriate seats for the U.S House of Representatives, which will inevitably impact the Electoral College for the Presidential Election.

Unfortunately, many of us have seen first-hand the negative impact government negligence has on communities. The National School Lunch Program, childcare programs and Section 8 Housing are all resources widely used by African Americans. The budgets for these programs are at a high risk of being cut if Census data doesn’t reflect reality; leaving African Americans with limited resources and aid.

Whether you’re a minority that’s at risk of being “hard-to-count” or not, you need to help bring awareness to the changes the Census Bureau has made. For those living in households without internet access, those individuals need to be made aware of the policy change promptly so that the proper arrangements can be made for them to go to places like public libraries that offer free internet access.

The Census Bureau is doing what they can to help make sure they reach everyone. Another demographic often under-represented in the Census are young children. The Bureau has partnered with child advocates to try and fix this problem. According to, campaigns have been created to make sure children under 5-years-old, get counted.

“In early March, the Census Bureau will launch a direct mail campaign reaching millions of households in areas at risk for under counting children to emphasize the importance of counting everyone in the 2020 Census,” says.

The Census Bureau is a part of the US Department of Commerce, meaning their budget is approved by Congress. In order to ensure that The Census Bureau has the proper resources it needs to reach everyone, members of Congress need to support appropriate funding for the Bureau. Although the funding has already been set in stone for the 2020 Census, constituents can still call congressional offices and emphasize the importance of Census funding.

The National Association of Advancement for Colored People along with Prince George’s County, Maryland has sued the federal government regarding the 2020 Census.

“…The NAACP Prince George’s County Branch and two county residents, sued the federal government to combat the imminent threat that the 2020 Census will substantially under count African Americans and other people of color in communities throughout the United States causing inequalities in political representation and deficiencies in federal funding of those communities,” The NAACP said.

Ensuring that everyone is represented in the Census count should be a civic duty that all are proud to help promote.