By: Gwyn Kaitis, Policy Coordinator, The New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence
By answering a few questions, you can help make this census count so that nonprofits receive the funding they need to serve people across New Mexico.
The Census is done once every 10 years. The number of people that are counted in the 2020 census will determine federal and state funding for the next 10 years, at least until the next census is completed in 2030.
There are many reasons why it is important this decade perhaps more than in any other decade, to make sure that you and your family are counted. Families are struggling in a pandemic that will affect finances for years to come. New Mexico has been severely undercounted in previous census’s, partly due to our rural geography, to our lack of access to cell and internet services, as well as to mistrust of the government and what it does with our information. Children, Native women, Black women and Latina women are the least counted populations in our state.
New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the country, needs these funds more than ever. As funding decreases at the federal and state level, we lose services, programs, and healthcare that is sorely needed especially during and after a national disaster such as this pandemic.
What is the purpose of the census?
The census allows the federal government to know where federal funding is most needed—some $675 billion a year in funding and support needs to be distributed, including many services and programs directed at helping domestic violence survivors and their children and ending intimate partner violence.
Funds for educational programs, emergency food assistance, shelters and health clinics are based on who is counted.
There are only a few questions to answer, like how many people lived in your home as of April 1, their sex, age and race. You can participate online by completing a 10-15-minute survey or call or visit with a census worker.
Privacy of your information:
Many people are concerned about their privacy when answering the questions on the census. The U.S. Census Bureau is required by law to protect all information collected through the census and keep it strictly confidential. The information gathered is used only to create statistics and by law cannot be turned over to law enforcement or be used to determine eligibility for benefits or social service programs.
Census workers are required by very strict federal laws to keep your personal information private. They can face jail and a fine of up to $300,000 for revealing your personal information to anyone outside of the census bureau. Including to your abuser.
It is understandable for undocumented immigrants to have special concerns. Despite the government’s request, there is no citizenship question on the 2020 census.
What is the deadline for being counted?
While the census was supposed to be available until October 31st, the government has decided to end it early, on September 30th, therefore it is important now more than ever to be counted as soon as possible.
Call 844-330-2020 to complete the census by phone. To do the online questionnaire, go to my2020census.gov and click “Start Questionnaire” and then click on the line that says, “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.” You’ll just have to answer a few additional questions to get started. For more questions, visit the U.S. Census 2020 website.