2010 Census Undercount: Immigrant Communities
At recent funders' conference by the FCCP, Arturo Vargas, ZeroDivide Board Chair and NALEO Executive Director, discussed how the successful Ya Es Hora campaign can be used to inform and educate Latino and immigrant populations to ensure they are accurately represented in the 2010 census. Through a comprehensive media, print and technology strategy, the Ya Es Hora campaign has been able to incorporate Latinos as full participants in the political process. The goal is to expand this program to include participation in the 2010 census.
The data gathered from the 2010 Census will provide a comprehensive snapshot of thousands of local communities across the United States and will be used to determine the yearly distribution of over $400 billion dollars in federal funding. Additionally, government agencies, the private sector and non-profit groups will assess trends and develop programs based on the Decennial Census numbers, and these same numbers will underlie the reapportionment of political representation, helping determine everything from Congressional and state legislative district boundaries to school board districts and voting precincts.
As a snapshot, however, the census has historically undercounted marginalized populations, specifically people of color and low-income communities, as well as children, especially those under the age of 10. And for the 2010 Census, the challenges of achieving a complete and accurate count are particularly daunting -- from an increase in hard to count populations, due to both migration trends (immigrants are more widely disbursed than 10 years ago, for example) as well as current economic conditions, to the current underfunding of 2010 Census preparation at the federal, state and local levels.