BOSTON - These days, there's so much we're told we have to care about that it's hard to keep track of the important issues. And while, yes, on the surface the 2020 census seems about as interesting a topic as which nuts are in reality seeds, in truth it's remarkably important.
But don't take my word for it. Here is an excerpt from Boston.gov: "Data from the 2010 Census determine around $16 billion every year in federal spending for critical programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, affordable housing initiatives, Title I education funding, and infrastructure in Massachusetts. For every one person that's not counted on the Census, the state loses out on roughly $2,400 of federal funding."
Where to begin? That's $16 billion. Not in the past 10 years, every year! Meaning $160 billion dollars of federal funding in the past decade is allocated based on only the US Census. And look at those programs, that's basically every public service offered in Massachusetts. Lastly, $2,400 per person. Wow.
The local government seems to agree with my view and has taken action steps to make sure we get every single person who lives in MA on our census. That's why Mayor Walsh announced the Complete Count Committee: a group of leaders in Boston who understand the importance of the census and are trying to do everything they can to get the word out.
"I am honored to serve on Boston's Complete Count Committee and to join a diverse group of leaders charged with ensuring our hardest to reach populations, including our immigrants and people of color, are counted," said Boston City Council President Andrea J. Campbell.
The logical question you might be asking is, "why is it so hard to count everyone. Surely you just... count them?"
In fact, it's quite complicated. They mayor's office says it's due to: "... [the] population of recent immigrants, renters, college students, and other hard-to-count populations. Boston is the ninth hardest-to-count city among the largest 100 cities nationwide, according to a recent report by Boston Indicators and the Boston Foundation.
Add onto this a controversial question asking about status of citizenship that the Supreme Court will soon rule on, this suddenly all becomes a little more complicated.
What we do know is it's super important. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for developments in this story for the next year. And if you can, raise awareness within your community that this is happening!