Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau takes a head count of every person living in the U.S., as required by the U.S. Constitution. A U.S. Census will be conducted in 2020, and the results will have significant impact on our work as public education leaders and our lives as Arizonans. An estimated $800 billion in federal funds is distributed based on the census data, including monies for public education. The data is also used to determine how legislative boundaries are drawn, how many votes each state gets in the Electoral College and the number of Congressional seats for each state. Arizona gained one seat after the 2010 U.S. Census.

For these reasons, a complete and accurate census is essential. As a community leader, you have a role to play in ensuring this occurs. It is never an easy task. It is labor intensive, takes years of planning and effective messaging. In 2020, that messaging could be more challenging – which is where you come in.

As you may have heard, controversy exists over a question that has been added to the 2020 U.S. Census that asks about citizenship status, specifically, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” The question has not been asked in a census since 1950. While federal law prohibits the Census Bureau from releasing any information that would identify individuals, some fear that noncitizens living in the U.S. will be reluctant to participate in the census, leading to an undercount of all the nation’s residents. Six lawsuits have been filed against the U.S. Census bureau from states and cities around the country. Groups who want the question removed are exerting pressure by urging the public to contact their members of Congress.

If you would like to submit a public comment, the process closes today, August 7, 2018.

Regardless of whether the question is deleted or remains, the 2020 U.S. Census will take place and the data collected will have a significant impact. That’s why ASBA is committed to providing you with accurate information about the census as April 1, 2020, approaches.

Between now and April 2020, ASBA will continue to keep you informed on this issue.

Thank you,