United Ways of California Denounces the Federal Decision to Halt the 2020 Census Count Made in the Wake of an Executive Order that Seeks to Skew Apportionment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
United Ways of California Joins Over 500 Philanthropic Leaders in Denouncing Federal Decision to Eliminate the Final Month of 2020 Census Operations:
UWCA President and CEO, Peter Manzo, along with grantmaking executives across the United States, wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, stating that the decision to stop collecting household data on September 30, (instead of October 31) will prove detrimental to hard-to-count Americans who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic
[Los Angeles, CA] – United Ways of California, the statewide organization supporting California’s network of 30 local United Ways, has called on U.S. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, and U.S. Census Bureau Director, Steven Dillingham, to rescind their decision to drastically cut short 2020 Census operations, and to restore their commitment to conducting the constitutionally-mandated count through October 31, as previously announced. Peter Manzo, President and CEO of United Ways of California, is joined by the leaders of over 500 nonprofit funders across the country, in calling on the federal government to devote adequate time to the significant enumeration and data processing that remains unfinished. This correspondence reflects an unprecedented consensus among national, state and local grantmakers and philanthropic institutions that have given more than $100 million to help ensure a full and accurate count.
The Administration plans to end not only door-to-door census enumeration, but to close self-response operations as well. Please click here to view the letter and list of signatories.
“Last year, California United Ways petitioned the Supreme Court to listen to experts who told us that the addition of a ‘citizenship question’ would make it more difficult to achieve a complete and accurate 2020 Census count. This year, our work to achieve a full and accurate count has been undermined by both an Executive Order that interferes with constitutionally-mandated apportionment, as well as by a decision to shut-off the vehicle designed to carry out constitutionally-mandated enumeration. United Way’s mission is to fight for the health, education, and financial stability for every person in every community. We cannot meet our mission, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, without a full and accurate count,” said Pete Manzo, President and CEO of United Ways of California.
“In a ‘normal time,’ Census data determines the allocation of well over $800 Billion in resources. We are now in an unprecedented time: California’s unemployment rate is 15.5 percent. Low-wage workers, quite often Black and Latinx women, responsible for the wellbeing of children and elders, are being disproportionately impacted. Most of the workers deemed ‘essential’ are low-wage workers. Most of the workers who have lost their jobs, or had their work hours reduced are low-wage workers. Californians who do not have Social Security Numbers are not receiving Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Assistance, or federal stimulus checks. Students in households without home internet connections cannot participate in distance learning. Over one-quarter of households have already missed a rent payment. Without a full and accurate count we risk further harming those who have borne the brunt of COVID-19’s negative impacts,” Manzo added.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s announcement to cut short 2020 Census operations amid a surging coronavirus pandemic, will hurt a diverse range of rural and urban communities, leaving them underrepresented locally and in Congress and cutting their fair share of federal funding for CalWORKS, (TANF) CalFresh, (SNAP) Medi-Cal, (Medicaid) economic development, child care, schools, road and public transit improvements, home heating assistance for senior citizens, and many more vital services.
Instead of concluding on October 31, 2020, the date announced when the federal government modified the 2020 census timeline as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, the last day to participate in the 2020 Census is now September 30. A high percentage of persons will not be counted as a result of this decision to end 2020 Census operations one full month earlier than previously announced. In 2010, one of the most undercounted populations were young children. And United Ways is especially concerned by the possibility that this pattern will repeat itself. According to the Real Cost Measure, 60% of California households with children under 5 were already struggling to meet their basic needs before the pandemic.
The philanthropic leaders that signed the letter share the belief that the additional month is needed to complete the count; nearly four in ten households were still yet to be counted as August began.