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Report: $1.5 Trillion in Federal Funding to States at Stake in Census Count

Groups most at risk for going uncounted include children in rural communities, seniors and minorities (Wikimedia Commons).
Groups most at risk for going uncounted include children in rural communities, seniors and minorities (Wikimedia Commons).
November 21, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. – A new George Washington University report shows that more than $1.5 trillion a year in federal funding distributed to states and local governments is directly connected to Census data.

John Cartier, director of voting rights for the democracy advocacy group Civic Nebraska, says the report underscores the stakes for getting a complete and accurate count in 2020, to ensure that Nebraska gets its fair share of tax dollars needed for 25 vital programs throughout the state.

"And this includes things such as SNAP benefits, public housing, employee training services, Medicaid expenditures, transportation, education that is tied directly into this Census," he stresses

Groups most at risk for going uncounted include children in rural communities, seniors and minorities.

Many immigrant communities were troubled by the Trump administration's move to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

This past summer, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the move, saying the administration's decision to add the question violated federal law.

Cartier notes the controversial question received a lot more attention than the decision to ban it, and people still are concerned about their privacy, and what participation in the census could mean for their families.

After Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed legislation to create a committee to encourage participation in the once-a-decade survey, Cartier's group built a coalition of some 30 nonprofit organizations to carry out the work.

"So our job, really, is to go directly to these families and communities and remind them that the Census is secure, the Census is going to be safe, and the Census is going to be vital for the health of their communities," he states.

A separate George Washington University study found that Nebraska could lose $21,000 for every person missed in the 2020 count.

In 2016, Nebraska received nearly $4 billion in federal funds for programs linked to Census numbers.

The U.S. Constitution requires a full count of all people living in the U.S. every 10 years.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - NE