The census deadline has been moved forward, from October 31st to September 30th, meaning that the Census Bureau will not have enough time to accurately count everyone in the United States, especially with the added difficulty of navigating COVID-19.
An accurate reflection of the US population gathered by the census is essential for determining electoral college votes, legislative representatives, and funding for each state. If the census collects inaccurate data, it will influence policies for a full ten years until the next census.
Even more concerning is that fact that minority and recent immigrant communities are the most likely to be underrepresented in census responses, meaning that policies could end up harming these communities if there is not accurate information about them.
With the added difficulty of collecting census responses and contacting unresponsive households during a pandemic, it is important to maintain an extended deadline. The decision to shorten the deadline purposefully undercounts minority populations.
We need to ensure our minority communities are counted, not just for the benefit of the state of Montana as a whole, but as a reflection of our community’s principles of inclusion and advocating for our underserved and undercounted population.
Lindsey Roosa, Missoula