The first national census was taken in 1790 and we’re gearing up for the next one in 2020.
There’s a lot riding on the census. For one thing, Congressional representation is based on an accurate count, and distribution of around $65 billion in federal funding will be heavily impacted by the census. While every state gets two Senators regardless of population, an incorrect count could easily impact representation in the House of Representatives. And if we’re undercounted, fewer of our tax dollars will make the round trip from California to Washington and back.
At the state level, the new census will result in re-drawing of State Assembly and Senate boundaries. The last time that happened was in 2011, which had a major impact locally. For example, after the census Escondido was no longer split between two Assembly districts with two separate Assemblymembers in Sacramento.
The 2020 census will be the first one conducted largely online. With 31% of California considered “under-connected,” and with 9 of the nation’s 50 hardest to count counties in California, this may be problematic. Incidentally, one of those hard to count counties is San Diego. Among the hardest to count populations are the homeless, immigrants, rural white renters and Native Americans.
The President gets the final numbers by the end of 2020, and redistricting counts will be reported to the states by March 31, 2021 to be used in redrawing district boundaries for the 2022 election.
Preliminary planning for the census is already underway. In 2010 California budgeted just $2 million for the census; $90 million is being budgeted this time. We need an accurate count and the work is already underway to make sure we get one.
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Minority Floor Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.