Opinion: 2020 Census will be a disaster for California without more money

Alarms about poor preparation for the 2020 Census are ringing across the nation, but perhaps no louder than in California. The Golden State, with almost 39 million residents, has the largest stake in a fair and accurate census.

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Santa Clara County officials fear budget cuts will muddy 2020 Census

The U.S. Constitution requires a new count of the population every 10 years. It’s a massive undertaking, involving more than a decade of planning, elaborate tests of new counting methods, extensive outreach to a more diverse and mobile population, and hiring a temporary workforce of more than half a million to contact those who fail to self-respond.

But so far, Congress has severely underfunded preparations for the 2020 Census by hundreds of millions of dollars.

The census is more than a head count. The framers intended it to ensure the fair allocation of political power. Population data from the census are used for the reapportionment of congressional seats and the redistricting of California’s state and local government political districts.

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Census data also guide $87 billion annually in federal funds to the Golden State. These funds are for such vital needs as Medicaid and Medicare (Part B), Head Start, school lunch programs, highways and transportation and housing assistance. All depend on the census count.

Census data are used in civil rights and voting rights enforcement. The information is used to protect access to the ballot, to monitor discrimination and to examine economic equality.

Today the Census Bureau’s annual budget sits stalled at last year’s level because of a continuing resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump. The administration and Congress have yet …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

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