By Defranco Sarabia
Pulse Staff Reporter
Every 10 years the census is used to count how many people live in the USA. The federal government and many local governmental agencies use data gathered by the census to determine funding for programs that help our community and provide equitable representation of its citizen.
The number of representatives a state has is divvied up according to the state’s population. State representatives play a big part in the drafting and implementation of polices, such as climate action plans, immigration reform, taxation regulation, abortion, legalization of marijuana, crisis management and more. Their job is to understand the needs, culture and perspectives of the people they represent. Without representatives, communities would be voiceless in the issues that directly affect them.
“They are the ones that make the major decisions for us,” said Berenice Becerra, an Education major.
Becerra believes that it is import that people know about their state representatives because that they are the ones who set the basic policies and priorities of our community. She encourages people to complete the census and learn more about its importance to our community.
According to local census community engagement initiative called Count Me In, a 287,000-person undercount in this 2020 census could lead to a $3 billion loss of federal funding for the state of Texas.
Count Me In also reported that in 2017, 37.1% of Texas’ statewide spending came from federal grants. These grants fund programs that aid our community. You may have experienced aid from these programs if you had free lunch in grade school.
Count Me In’s data identified that the federally funded “National School Lunch Program” provided 240,339 meals for public school students in Bexar County during the 2013-2014 school year.
“I’m a single mom with four kids. I go to school part time. I work part time. I definitely don’t make enough to do a lot on my own, so somethings like that (free lunch programs), are necessary,” said Clarissa Garcia, an Education major.
“You never know what people are going through (…) sometimes it’s their only meal of the day,” said Liberal Arts major Jaron Carvajal.
Federal grants also help many students pay for college, either from financial aid or work-study positions. In the 2017-20181 academic year, $20.5 millions of federal aid supported PAC’s students.
Tyler Archer, PAC’s director of Student Conduct, is a committee member of the Higher Education portion of the Count Me In initiative. Archer helps coordinate the census community engagement efforts on campus. She believes that it is crucial to have student involvement in the census because so many of PAC’s students could be affected.
“When you look at our student population, such a large part of the student population receives federal funding or support,” said Archer.
She encourages those who are looking for a place to complete the census to go to the Ozuna Building on Census Day, April 1, 2020.
Leading up to the census date will be a push to survey communities online instead of the traditional mail-in forms. The census will ask how many people live your household, their age, race and other basic information. The census will not ask if you are a citizen. The goal of the census is to help better identify and serve communities. The census will not share any information with any other organizations or agencies.
This edition is due to significant impact of the deadly virus Covid-19. The census still strives to identify communities and aid in the allocation of crisis funding.
Here is a video that updates you on serious changes that will make it easier for some students to be counted.
To learn more about how the census affects you or simply how to fill it out, feel free to visit:
Here are some videos on how to fill in the census.
Check here for a Spanish version.
The ASL one is available here.