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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Census Participation is Critical for Our Communities, for Our Cities

A First Step in Building Power For Our Communities

Census data is used to apportion the 435 seats in the House of Representatives, allocate the number of electors to the Electoral College, and re-draw political districts lines. We can't miss this opportunity to include people that are typically left behind and ensure they are properly represented in local, state and federal governments.

Census data also determines federal funding to cities and states, which will become increasingly important as city and state budgets are being slashed.

We need to ensure that our communities are counted and advocate for our fair share of federal funding and resources for our communities.

It’s a Civil Rights Issue 

The 2000 census missed 16 million people. Low-income communities—particularly low-income communities of color—were disproportionately under-counted. An undercount leads to institutionalized racism: lack of political representation and resources.

It’s an Immigrant Rights Issue

Census is the one US policy that all residents can participate in. It’s critical for our communities to be counted to advocate for our fair share of resources such as education, healthcare, transportation, jobs, housing, and emergency services.

It’s a LGBT Rights Issue 

Thanks to unmarried partner data the prevalence of same sex couples has emerged: Same-sex couples live in 99% of all US Counties. Beyond visibility, Census is an important first step in ensuring that LGBT community gets access to the resources that support our health, economic well-being, safety and families.

Building the New Majority in Urban Areas

Though the country as a whole is still majority white, cities are approaching majority people of color. The U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2008 cited that 85% of the U.S. population resides in metropolitan areas. Cities consist of large low-middle income populations. And, increasingly, cities have a high percentage of immigrants. The tide is turning.

It’s critical that we be counted and advocate for our fair share of representation and resources as a building block to power for our communities.

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