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Census

The U.S. Census is required under the U.S. Constitution to occur every 10 years and is the process of counting every resident in the country. For the first time ever, in 2020 the Census will be primarily digitally based.

Why it matters

The U.S. Census data is used to make decisions around education, healthcare, infrastructure, and political representation. With increased growth in the country, getting an accurate and complete count of every person living within is crucial to ensure that each state receives funding to support the number of residents in each state. This Census the focus continues to be on reaching hard to count communities and ensuring these communities get included in the Census count.

What we're doing

The League’s Census work will occur in three phases: (1) Education; (2) Get Out to Count activities, (3) Watchdog reporting. In the months leading up to Census Day—April 1, 2020—Leagues around the country will be in communities sharing information and resources about how to participate and the importance of the U.S. Census. On Census Day, the League will work in coalition to help get everyone counted, work in Complete Count Committees to share out information about low-reporting areas, and communicate where additional support is needed. Once the Census count wraps up in the Summer/Fall of 2020, the League’s will remain in communities and will watchdog any issues from the ground.

Census In Depth

Officials at the state level in Texas have decided not to spend any money on the 2020 census, even though in the past 10 years the population of Texas has grown massively. So business leaders, large cities and even nonprofits in Texas say they're being forced to step in instead.

Now that the threat of a citizenship question on the Census appears to have ended, the focus must turn toward ensuring the 2020 Census is conducted appropriately and comprehensively.

Late Tuesday the Trump Administration announced the 2020 Census forms will be printed without a citizenship question. The announcement came days after the Supreme Court blocked the question.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Department of Commerce v. New York that a citizenship question in the U.S. Census report cannot proceed for 2020. The League of Women Voters of New York State was one of several named organizational plaintiffs in the case.

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) was one of the most important pieces of legislation of the 20th Century when it was established in 1965. However, Shelby County v. Holder, a landmark Supreme Court case decided on June 25, 2013, rocked the civil rights world when it gutted important sections of the VRA.

LWVUS joined organizations connected to the Coalition on Human Needs on a letter urging members of Congress to lift severe caps on domestic and international discretionary spending in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021.

The League joined letters to the Census Project and other affiliates calling on Congress to support the funding levels for the Census Bureau appropriated in the FY 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill. 

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Department of Commerce v. New York, a case challenging the Administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census short form. Learn more about the case here.

In less than one year, on April 1, 2020, the Census will be in full swing. This process of counting will ensure that the political power, health, and safety of every community is maintained or enhanced in the upcoming decade.