Tri-Caucus Leaders Mark Census Day As Coronavirus Drives Down Participation

Apr 1, 2020 Issues: Economic Development, Education, Healthcare, Housing, Immigration, Other Issues

Washington, D.C. – Today is Census Day, the day used by the U.S. Census Bureau as a reference point for the 2020 Census to determine who is counted and where they are counted. Census Day is not a deadline, and households can continue to respond to the 2020 Census until August 14th.  In order to ensure that 2020 Census operations do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19, the Census Bureau recently announced that it is taking necessary actions to delay in-person census outreach. The response rate to the 2020 Census is currently lower than it was at the same point in the enumeration period in 2010. Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chairwoman Judy Chu, Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairman Joaquin Castro, and CBC Census 2020 Task Force Chairman Steven Horsford released the following statements:

“Today is Census Day, and we are urging everyone to participate from the safety of their homes. The Census Bureau has made important and necessary changes to prioritize the public health of all Americans during the coronavirus outbreak. But we are already seeing how this global pandemic is threatening an undercount that may negatively impact our communities. At the start of this week, the national response rate was only about 35% compared to 46.5% at the same point in the enumeration period in 2010. We’re also not seeing the same daily increase in responses as we have in the past. These are alarming trends which would mean depriving areas like my Southern California district federal funds and even representation in Congress. They also highlight how immigrant communities and communities of color – including millions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders – are particularly at risk of being undercounted,” said Rep. Chu. “That is why we want to make sure that everyone is counted, regardless of your immigration status or what language you speak. The Census is completely safe, secure, and confidential. It will not ask you about your citizenship status, and there are strong legal protections in place to prevent your personal data from being shared. In order to ensure immigrant communities are able to participate, the 2020 Census is also available in 13 languages with language guides available in 59 languages. The next ten years in our country will be determined by the results of the next few months. We cannot afford to leave anybody uncounted.”

“This Census Day comes at a difficult time for many Americans, since the current health crisis has made everyone more aware about their communities’ needs for federal programs and resources. The census count plays a key role in what our communities will receive from the federal government, from funding for education and public health, infrastructure and nutrition programs, to representation in Congress. Latino families - who have been historically undercounted - especially have a lot on the line. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and our Tri-Caucus colleagues have prepared for over a year for this Census count. We stood together to fight against a citizenship question, worked in partnership to raise awareness in our communities, and diligently formed key partnerships with trusted census allies in our congressional districts. Now, in the midst of this crisis, all of our work is being put to the test,” said Rep. Castro. “Even as we face this public health crisis, everyone must do their part to ensure that their community is counted in the 2020 Census. Today is not a deadline, but rather a reminder to make sure your voice and your family is counted in our democracy.”

“The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that our country has counted its population since it was Constitutionally mandated in 1790. And 24 times, there has been an undercount of people in our country, particularly for people of color and children. We must all encourage our families, our neighbors, our friends, and our colleagues to participate in the 2020 Census and shape our future accurately and fairly,” said Rep. Horsford. “This Census Day comes at a crucial time for our country and our individual communities. Currently, families in my home state of Nevada are concerned about the capacity of our hospitals. By encouraging all Americans to fill out the Census, lawmakers can know how much funding to set aside for critical services like hospitals and healthcare in the future.”