The Census is a keystone of our representative government. It measures the population so that seats in the US House of Representatives can be correctly divided among the states. It also is used in redistricting to draw the lines that link representatives to their constituents for the next ten years. Past undercounts of Native populations have deprived hundreds of thousands of Native Americans of their voice in government.
The distribution of more than $600 billion per year in federal money is tied to the census. The government calculates each geographic area’s level of education, income/poverty, and more to determine their funding level. Census numbers provide the base figures used in these formulas. This process determine the amount of funding provided to communities for programs like health care, infrastructure, housing, and education.
Our constitution requires that every person in the United States be counted--it is the basis of equal representation. However certain populations typically are undercounted, e.g, minorities, people in poverty, people living in non-traditional homes, people who speak a different language than English, and youth. One quarter of Native Americans live in areas described by the census as ‘hard to count.’ An inaccurate count has far-reaching effects most-often carried by our most vulnerable citizens.