Latino 2020 Census U.S. Census 2020 form
Photo by Alicia Barrón

Arizonans can still make themselves count in the 2020 Census. Here’s how and why it’s important.

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, this decade’s official head count by the U.S. Census is now due Oct. 31, 2020.

Anakarina Rodriguez, Arizona’s Census campaign manager for NALEO Educational Fund, a non-partisan organization that works to facilitate Latino participation in the American political process, spoke to Copper Courier about why it’s imperative all Americans–Latinos in particular–to fill out the 2020 Census.

Rodriguez explained the U.S. Census is more likely to receive a low response rate from people in these communities due to technical issues resulting from heavier online traffic caused by COVID-19. Not to mention, individuals who may not have internet at all rely instead on filling out and sending in a paper questionnaire. 

“Some of the areas of focus include these places because we need to ensure that we continue to talk to these folks, make sure that they fill out their questionnaire, and send it back as soon as possible to make sure that they get counted in the 2020 Census,” Rodriguez explained.

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She’s urging everyone within a household – related or not – to get counted.

Rodriguez said it’s imperative all individuals are counted in the 2020 Census because that’s how money gets allocated to the community schools. That data also helps fund programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare, and Section 8 Housing. It also helps designate money towards the construction of highways. 

Rodriguez said, “Not only will we get great highways and construction…we also know those [projects] will provide great jobs for not just us, but for our entire communities.”

Additionally, being counted in the 2020 Census helps improve education programs for kids and students, including HeadStart and lunch programs so every single student can have a healthy meal in school. 

In 2010, there was an undercount of 32,000 Latino children in the state alone, Rodriguez said, and she emphasized that all kids and babies born before April 1, 2020, should be counted in the this year’s Census. 

“Make sure that folks know that it’s also fast, quick, easy, and confidential,” Rodriguez said.Your information is secure, and we just want to make sure that you’re counted so we have funding allocated for our communities.” 

Individuals can respond to the Census by by going online to My2020Census.gov, filling out the questionnaire received in the mail and sending it back, or calling 1-844-330-2020.

NALEO serves Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, and Yuma counties, as well as several hard-to-count communities like San Luis, Arizona, and South Tucson.