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Delaware Census 2020

Why is Census 2020 Important to all

If you don’t think census pertains to you..think again!

The census is one of the foundations for the American democracy. The U.S. Constitution requires a decennial census of the population. Almost all countries in the world do a census. In India, the census includes photos and fingerprints of everyone over 15. Could you imagine all that work? But why does census matter? Census data is used in ways you may not realize, it is critical to communities not just in Delaware, but everywhere. Census data is used to determine local needs for roads, schools, rural development, veteran’s services, employment, child-care, senior centers, housing, environment, incarceration, healthcare and more. The numbers and demographics calculated in the census determine federal dollars allocated to states from all national programs for 10 years (until the next census is done). There is strength in having accurate numbers. The more people counted means more money and power for Delaware. The dollars for Delaware can be up to $2,200 per Delawarean not counted. The loss of funding grows exponentially as we consider Delaware had an undercount of one percent of the state in 2010, then suddenly we are at 14 million dollars a year for 10 years. But even beyond that; historically, the census has missed disproportionate numbers of racial minorities, immigrants, young children and those living in poverty – “hard-to-count populations” – leading to inequality in political power, government funding and private-sector investment for these communities. There is even more. Census determines equal political representation; informs fair allocation of public, private, and nonprofit resources; informs policy debates and decision-making; guides foundation strategies, investments, and evaluations; measures socio-economic conditions. The business community uses census data to consider moving to an area, expanding locations and whether to hire more people. Social Security used census data to determine what they will need in money to support the aging population and at what age will they consider eligibility. Those of us born 1960 or after are very aware of this!! The 1980 census data was used in 1983 by Congress as part of law designed to strengthened Social Security's finances. Major technology changes in the 2020 census, it will be the very first census that can be completed online. Even more census 2020 will use of satellite imagery to locate new homes and identify those that no longer exist. We have come a long way since the 1950 census which was the first to use technology, due an invention of ENIAC (a room size computer) developed at the University of PA in 1946. The nonprofit sector uses census data to determine needs, provide services, and measure success. It is critical for the work from hunger to arts. The financial stability of many programs that provide services we all use rely on the resources that are determined by census. The use of census seems endless and aggregate statistics are public information. That being said, by Federal law Protected Personal Information from census cannot be shared with immigration, law enforcement agencies, or used it to determine eligibility for programs. As said by Benjamin Franklin in 1789 “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”.. I would add to that an accurate accounting of not just the U.S. population, but the world population is a necessity. We all have a stake in an accurate count! Count yourself in Delaware and support the community outreach; so Delaware does not leave 1.4 billion dollars on the table again. 

Cynthia Pritchard, President and CEO Philanthropy Delaware

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