In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of all the inhabited earth. Luke 2:1
Census-taking has been in existence since biblical times and in 2020 every person in the United States needs to participate in the 10-year event. The first U.S. Census took place in 1790 when there were only four million people. Today we number well over three hundred and thirty million.
The Social Justice Team is proud to serve as a faith partner, joining a network of nonprofit, corporate, and community organizations in educating the public about the urgency of completing the questionnaire, and of the enormous impact an accurate count will have on our daily lives. We are reaching out to all hard-to-count populations including the homeless, disabled, LGBTQ people, non-English speakers, racial and ethnic minorities, and immigrants. Past statistics prove that someone is more likely to complete the census if they hear about it from someone they trust. For this reason, faith communities have a vital role to play. All census data are secure, protected by federal law, kept completely confidential, and used for statistical purposes only.
So how does census data affect the general populace? First, an accurate count determines the reapportionment of allocated seats in the House of Representatives. Based on the 2010 count, North Carolina currently has thirteen seats in the U.S. House. An accurate count could increase that number, thereby amplifying our voice in Congress. In addition, census data are used to redraw congressional and legislative maps. However, the most crucial benefit involves money: an enormous amount of money. The census results will determine how more than 675 billion dollars will be spent nationwide on programs such as free and reduced-priced school lunches, aid for the disabled, elderly assistance, veterans programs, Medicare and Medicaid, infrastructure repairs, disaster relief, and now, most urgently, the tracking and managing of pandemics.
Therefore, an accurate count is more crucial than ever to the benefit of millions of citizens. If you have not already completed your census questionnaire, please do so as soon as you can. The online survey is at https://my2020census.gov.
Remember: Everyone counts, especially you.
Jeanne Agan, St. Peter’s Social Justice Team