Every 10 years, the United States is constitutionally required to count every single person living in this country. Everyone – all adults, all children, all races – must be counted through the Census.
A full and accurate Census in 2020 is essential to ensuring New Jersey receives the federal funding to which it is entitled. These funds cover essential services like safer roads and bridges, pre-school, school meals, maternal and child care including immunizations, and WIC. The federal government allocates over $700 billion to state and local governments based on Census data. New Jersey receives more than $45 billion of federal funding annually. In order for us to get our fair share next time around, everyone must be counted.
New Jersey also has one of the worst racial wealth gaps in the nation. That gap will only increase if we don’t receive adequate funding.
A quarter of New Jersey’s population lives in “hard to count” areas, designated such because fewer than 73 percent of the residents returned their Census forms in 2010. Black communities in New Jersey are very vulnerable to being hard-to-count, so the Institute is working hard to make sure these communities are aware of, and participate in, the Census.
Census data also determines how many representatives New Jersey sends to Congress, and is used to draw state and federal legislative districts. There are now two fewer representatives in Congress for New Jersey than in 1990. An accurate Census in 2020 is necessary to ensure New Jersey communities are fairly represented in Trenton and that New Jersey maintains its voice in Washington D.C.
The Trump Administration had announced plans to include a question on the Census asking people if they are citizens. Many groups, including ours, objected strenuously to this question because it would chill participation.
The Institute, with some of our partners, filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court objecting to the inclusion of a citizenship question on the Census and emphasizing its potential impact on communities of color.
After the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the question from being added to the Census, the administration announced it would no longer include it.
For further resources and materials to share, please see below.
And to help make sure NEW JERSEY COUNTS IN 2020, contact the Institute at [email protected] to organize or join a local Complete Count Committee.
Watch the webinar Fighting for a Faithful Census in New Jersey