Community Leaders Launch Push for a Complete Census Count
Monday, February 17, 2020 - 1:02pm
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway joined Rep. Shelia Stubbs and County Executive Joe Parisi alongside community leaders from Centro Hispano, Madison College, and others to pledge support for and share resources to encourage participation in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census.
“It’s so critical that we all work together to assure that the upcoming census count is thorough and accurate,” said Mayor Rhodes-Conway. “The tallied numbers will influence funding and services for our residents for the next ten years. We need to get this right.”
Community leaders at the event signed a pledge committing to stress the importance of the census, and asked for help spreading the word about U.S. Census job opportunities. Leaders also recorded short videos in multiple languages to remind residents of the urgency of this matter.
“We are determined to reach out to the Latinx community and we urge others to join us,” said Centro Hispano Board member Mario Garcia Sierra. “We need to make everyone understand that the information they share with a census worker will be private. Communities of color are growing in Dane County and everyone needs to be counted.”
While other counties in Wisconsin are reporting 80-90% or more of the census workers they need, the Census Bureau has only about 40% of the workers they need in Dane County. These workers follow up with the estimated 20% of people who will not respond in the mail or online. The Census Bureau says an estimated 4,000 applications are needed to fill all the scheduled slots.
“Without census workers reaching out to folks who don’t fill out the form on their own, our community risks having residents undercounted and losing federal funding for important programs related to affordable housing, transit, roads, healthcare, education, and more,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “These are good paying, flexible jobs available from March through July that help our community and keep our democracy strong.”
The City of Madison, like many jurisdictions and organizations across the country, is engaging in public outreach to explain why the U.S. Census is important locally. Every ten years, we strive for a complete count of Madison’s diverse residents because it forms the foundation of so many functions and services that benefit residents. Key among these are:
- Representation: Political district boundaries are based on the census. Everyone living in the U.S. (not just citizens) must be counted to ensure equal representation at all levels of government.
- Funding: The census count affects state and federal funding for our community over the next decade. $675 billion in annual federal funding is tied to the census. Every person who is not counted may result in a loss of over $2,000 in funding per year.
The census form includes nine questions about each person's age, gender, race, and relationship to householder. All data collected is confidential and may only be used for statistical purposes.
More information on the City of Madison’s census outreach efforts can be found at www.cityofmadison.com/2020Census.
- Christie Baumel, 608-266-4611