Fill Out Census Forms! Needs You

     Does no one care about the future? How will your descendants track you down if you are not enumerated in the 2020 census?
    To those who refuse to fill out their forms on-line, on paper, or on the phone, thus forcing a hapless census worker to come to your door where you drive them off, I say: Don’t you care about your family tree?
     Imagine the year 2120 and your great-grandchild, now a wizened elder, is searching census records for its ancestor (which by now is the preferred personal pronoun for people of all genders) who experienced the five year Covid-19 lockdown. It finds….a blank. That person was a zero. That is because people, apparently rich ones in particular, refused to participate.
    Yes, this year President Donald Trump has thrown as many obstacles as possible into this effort, legal and otherwise. He will end the count on September 30, a month earlier than in previous census years. Although there will be no citizenship question as he wished, he has managed to scare off many legal immigrants. Nonetheless, on the Upper East Side of New York, the rate is as low as 48 percent. Many of these residents fled the city, often to their second homes, but surely they have computers that would allow them to respond on line. What is wrong with these people? In Washington Heights, with a high Latinx population, the rate is 65 percent.
     In 2010, only 75 percent of U.S. households mailed in their census information.
This year 80 percent of households could take it online. The rest are contacted by mail or on the phone. Currently census workers are going to households that did not respond. So far only about 63 percent of U.S. households have completed their brief questionnaires although results determine how many representatives they send to Congress and whether their communities receive a proper share of $675 billion in federal aid from 132 government programs including Head Start, school lunch programs, and Pell Grants for college.
     New York is one of eight states on the brink of losing social services and at least one congressional seat because of population loss. Others include Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. In addition, California and Minnesota are considered to be borderline cases. The census also impacts economic well-being because corporations use the data to make strategic business decisions, including hiring, based on census data.
    Whatever happens, in 2020 more than ever, we will have to live with the results that the census shirkers inflict on the rest of us. It is not looking good.
    What do you think? Please comment in the box below.