By Alexander Speid
The Westside Gazette
The 2020 census is a ballot for individual communities within the United States. It counts for every living person in the country and the home they live in. It can be completed by phone, online, or by mail. The purpose of the census is for the government to insure you receive funds to better your community. It is equivalent to asking for free money for your area to improve schools, neighborhoods, small businesses, and flow of traffic. The 2020 census is the clearest way to improve one’s community.
However, there are some who feel that the census isn’t as trustworthy or as promising as one would assume. Some don’t trust the government due to their practices with lower income areas. Others believe that there is a bias against racial and ethnic minorities. A national representative survey was sent to 50,000 in the US with approximately 17,500 people responding to the survey. The other 32,000 were most likely minorities of rural areas, poor internet connection, or people who generally did not actively try to sign off on it.
There is an additional fear that the census would be used against low-income households, and certain minority groups who lived outside of the U.S.—including non-English speaking areas. There is also pressure from the government’s surveillance. Privacy has been a big driving point in people’s unwillingness to fill out the census, as their privacy and confidentiality could be compromised for ill intent.
The truth is that the census does more good then harm for one’s community. In layman’s terms, the U.S. census is used primarily to help struggling areas. They put more funding into rebuilding roads, giving more to schools, and controlling the congestion of traffic. More social service programs and community action—including child care, and senior aid—is included with the census. It can create new jobs for libraries, factories, offices, and many other ways to offer better chances for work.
While there’s much it can do for older adults and senior citizens, the census for 2020 is just as important for younger adults as well.
The number of census filled out by young adults will contribute to information for distribution. This distribution will translate to billions of dollars for federal funding in public programs— such as urban development and public transit. To simplify, it means that those programs that help you continue attending college/universities, give you grants to attend schools, protect your student aid in classes, and allow public transport via buses or trams — all of that is included in the census. If ever there was an issue with the number of books or how little resources there was in school, the census will assist in putting more funds into that school to give you more supplies.
But of course, some still have concerns over their information on the census; that the government will use that to survey them within their households. However, the cold truth is that the government already knows who you are.
All forms of technology, money transactions, bank accounts, and especially social media ac-counts are linked to the government. They knew who you were, your name, and where you lived from the moment you were born to now as you are reading this article. As for using the census to target your community as a Blacklist for federal support — HIGHLY unlikely. In reality, there was exactly ONE time the census was used to breach privacy back in the 1930’s, when the United States captured the Japanese on the West Coast during World War II. Though the Census Bureau denies it, scholarly evidence proves the contrary. However, that is up to individual perception. Beyond that, the census has only done its part to assist those communities in the direst need for years afterwards. One moment in history does not determine the rest of the future.
The 2020 census is more important than ever during these unusual times. For Florida, we are at a whopping number of 350,000 COVID-19 cases with 4,900 deaths. a large majority of COVID may affect the elderly and people with underlying medical issues, but it still poses a hazardous threat to the youth, who could be considered the silent carriers with no symptoms earlier on that could spread to the loved ones who are amino-compromised.
Why the census is important in this regard is that it gives the Bureau a better synopsis of the most affected areas that COVID is rampant in and provides extra measures to ensure its containment from affecting other areas. That would mean more ICU beds for patients that truly need them, and an increase in equipment to better assist with the pandemic. More mask, hand sanitizer, wipes, and paper towel would be in higher supply for businesses to sell. Food trucks could be sent to struggling neighborhoods that have been affected by the pandemic. And most of all, stimulus packs could come more quickly and more efficiently to you and your neighbors.
There is no real excuse to not take the opportunity to help yourself and your area. You can either do it by mail or go online and fill it out digitally at 2020census.gov.