Why is it important, particularly for communities of color, to participate in the 2020 Census?

1. Federal Funding for Essential Programs that Empower our Communities Rely on Census Data.

The Census is used to determine how much federal funding we receive for essential programs. New Jersey receives more than $17.5 billion from the federal government.1 This federal funding supports school breakfast and lunches; pre-school, after-school/child care, and summer programs; WIC, immunizations, and Maternal & Child Health; and construction of better roads and safer bridges.

New Jersey has one of the worst racial wealth gaps in the country. The median net worth for New Jersey’s white families is $309,396—the highest in America.2 By stark contrast, it was only $5,900 and $7,020 for Black and Latino families in 2018. This racial wealth gap will only widen if these programs are not adequately funded.

2. Census Data Determine Power.

The 2020 Census count will determine how many representatives New Jersey sends to Congress, and the number of votes we have in the Electoral College. They are also used to draw state and federal legislative districts. We now have two fewer representatives and two fewer electoral votes than we had in 1990.

3. Census Data Are Used to Enforce and Protect our Civil Rights.

Census data help to enforce civil rights laws like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They are used to determine whether or not an election district affords Black voters and other voters of color an equal opportunity to elect their candidates of choice.


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