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2020 Census Failure Is Failure For U.S., Says Lerner Center Director
The Trump administration is seeking intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to end the 2020 census counting, which would reverse a lower court’s decision to keep it going until the end of the month.
Shannon Monnat is an associate professor of sociology and director of the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. She provides comments below about the importance of accurate census counting that can be quoted directly. She is also available for interviews upon request.
“In the U.S., Census data are the most important data collected, not just for research, but for the functioning of the country. A 2020 Census failure is a failure for the whole country.
“We aren’t just talking about impacts for the next decade. An undercount will have implications for federal funding, representative apportionment, and population health tracking for decades to come. An undercount means that some places will unfairly lose federal funding or will lose congressional seats, while other places will get more than their fair share simply because the residents there were more likely to fill out their Census form or be found by Census enumerators.
“Under-counting could mean that we cannot accurately calculate rates of death, birth, marriage, or migration since we use Census data as the population denominators in those calculations. Incorrect counts could mean that we do not know how many schools we will need for children or how many retirement homes or hospitals we will need for aging adults in the coming decades.
“Every person who isn’t counted costs their state $3,500-6,000 in federal funding! That has huge implications for adequately funding health and social services, and is all the more important during a period in which state and local budgets are strapped due to COVID-19.”
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