The Census is more than a knock on the door

Say the government wants to give you some money. No strings attached. The only problem is the government has to know you exist. If you are not on its books, you don’t get the money.

It goes elsewhere. Even if  you need it badly.

That is the simple reason why the Census is so important, why it is a tragedy that immigrant and minority communities have suffered by counts that passed over them and why the news media that serves immigrant and minority communities needs to tell this story.

It is also the reason why the ethnic news media has to be on top of this story not only explaining why the Census matters, but how the government is carrying out the Census. Oscar Avila, writing in the Chicago Tribune, again sums up good reasons why the ethnic news media needs to make the census a number one target for the next few months.

Who can’t use more money?

He writes:

Nationwide, 65 percent of Hispanic residents and 60 percent of black residents returned census forms in 2000, compared with 78 percent of white residents, according to the General Accounting Office, ultimately leading to higher rates of being undercounted.

The consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that Cook County ultimately will lose about $200 million this decade because of undercounts in the 2000 census. Researchers estimated that Illinois will lose about $12,000 in federal funds over the next decade for each uncounted person.”


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