How the census, like any other powerful political, social, and economic instrument, can serve the common cause. Where is Big Brother from 1984?
“The consequences of an undercount are stark. For every 100 people not counted, a community loses an estimated $1.2 million in federal funds for programs such as Medicaid, social services block grants and vocational education over a decade. Billions of dollars for hospitals, schools, roads, and other vital programs depend on an accurate census count. The census contributes to economic development as public and private developers use the data when deciding where to build facilities that can bring jobs and retail options to communities. And census data are used to monitor and enforce compliance with civil rights statutes, including the National Voting Rights Act of 1965, and employment, housing, lending and education anti-discrimination laws.
An accurate count brings more than resources to a community, it also brings with it sheer political power that communities can wield to impact lasting change. The reapportionment of congressional seats and the redrawing of political districts are based on the census. In a number of states, a difference of just 1% in the 2010 Census will mean the gain or loss of a congressional seat.
And an accurate census is critical to ensuring open society in the United States. One might say that to be recognized as a human being and to be counted is one of the most basic human rights. The Open Society Institute is committed to expanding public participation, protecting the right to vote, and ensuring that the benefits, responsibilities and opportunities of society are distributed equally among all groups within our society. An accurate census supports these goals.”
–Ann Beeson, Executive Director of US Programs at the Open Society Institute