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Study Projects African Americans Will Be Twice as Likely as Whites Not to Participate in 2020 Census

According to a new report, black Americans are much less likely to participate in the upcoming 2020 census, and if you think the NAACP is about to let that happen, you’re in for a rude awakening.

From Huffington Post:

Black Americans are roughly twice as likely as their white counterparts to express doubts about participating in the 2020 census, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center released Friday.

A combined 26% of Black respondents said in the survey that they might not, probably would not, or definitely would not participate in the 2020 census. Twenty-one percent of Hispanics said the same, compared to 12% of white Americans. (The survey results may actually understate Americans’ skepticism: The kinds of people most likely to have doubts about answering the Census are probably also less likely to participate in surveys like this one.)

Census data is collected to determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, in addition to being used to allocate billions of dollars in federal funds. Simply put, it’s kind of a big damn deal and in being mindful of our perception as a “hard-to-count” population, as well as projections that up to 3.68 percent of the black population is at risk of not even being accounted for, the NAACP is one of many groups looking to address the matter.

WESA reports that on Friday, the 110-year-old organization held a census seminar at their annual conference, in which they noted that oftentimes black folks ignore surveys due to our distrust of the government.

“They take it as surveillance and policing,” West Chester University professor tonya thames-taylor, who prefers to spell her name in lower case, said. “They see it as, really, an extension of their oppression.”

thames-taylor pointed to the three-fifths compromise in the U.S. Constitution as an example of how the census has worked against the black community in the past.

“You’re counted,” thames-taylor said. “But you’re not counted as whole human beings.”

Huffington Post notes that both states and cities throughout the country have poured millions of dollars into concentrated census participation efforts, but it comes down to generating attention on the local levels to ensure that each community is accounted for.

“Research shows that if Latinos and other people of color learn how important being counted is to the distribution of public funding for everything from education, health care to infrastructure, they are more likely to want to be counted,” Arturo Vargas, CEO of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, told Huffington Post. “This is the message we will be emphasizing.”

“It’s getting community leaders on board,” census coordinator Lynne Newman, who attended the NAACP census seminar, told WESA. “It’s getting everyone. And we’re trying to meet people where they are.”

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