By Eva Barrows
The 2020 census count goes into full swing this month. Your household will receive information in the mail about how to submit your responses to the census questionnaire. The nationwide population count will determine how much funding your local community will receive to administer public benefits. Programs like school lunches, highway upkeep and emergency services stand to gain or lose funding depending on how many people need these services. The census results determine the numbers, so make sure you and your family are counted.
The February episode of “Talking with Henrietta: Explaining the 2020 Census” brought three census outreach educators into the studio. They discussed the importance of dispelling myths about the census for hard-to-count communities in order to increase their participation. California and San Mateo County stand to lose a lot of funding and representation in congress if people decide not to participate.
The outreach educators realize that immigrant communities are afraid of being noticed, even if they are in the country legally and may choose not to complete the census. People from immigrant communities may not trust the government with their information, and outreach educators help them understand that it’s illegal for census information to be shared with other government agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In addition, there is no citizenship question, so their immigration status would not be communicated to the government when they fill out the census.
Watch “Talking with Henrietta” or go to the 2020 Census website to help clear up any myths you may hear about this important civic duty.