After N.M. Approves New Funding for Census, Haaland Will Question Census Director on Outreach to Hard-to-Reach Communities

February 11, 2020
Press Release

After N.M. Approves New Funding for Census, Haaland Will Question Census Director on Outreach to Hard-to-Reach Communities  

Washington, D.C. – Just two days after New Mexico approved $8 million in additional funding for the 2020 Census, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) will examine the Census Bureau’s preparations for the 2020 Census, focusing on efforts to reach hard-to-count communities on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.

Who: 

Congresswoman Deb Haaland, the Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, and members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee

What:

Full Committee Hearing

When:

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 10 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. MT.

Where:

2154 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 and online here.

  

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BACKGROUND

The Constitution requires that the Census count every person in the United States, no matter their age or citizenship status.  The results of the 2020 Census will determine the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and the allocation of approximately $1.5 trillion in federal funding.  Some populations, including immigrants, communities of color, children, and people experiencing homelessness, have traditionally been more difficult to count, leading to an undercount on previous censuses.

The 2020 Census began last month in rural Alaska, and New Mexico families will begin receiving their Census invitation on March 12, 2020 with the rest of the country.  The Census Bureau must prepare to count all communities to ensure the Census results are accurate, fair, and complete.

New Mexico is one of the most difficult states to count with a high saturation of hard to count populations including: rural areas, immigrant populations, low income, and Native American communities. Specifically in New Mexico’s first Congressional District, homeless populations will require a more intensive outreach strategy for counting. Congresswoman Deb Haaland is very concerned that minority and immigrant communities, as well as rural communities with limited Internet access, are at serious risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census, jeopardizing their accurate representation in Congress and access to federal funds.

One major cause for concern is that the Census Bureau has fallen behind its own targets for hiring census workers to reach hard-to-count communities and for hiring partnership specialists who serve as critical liaisons with these communities. 

The Census Bureau must work closely with local communities to ensure an accurate count, including by addressing fears caused by the Trump Administration’s immigration policies and the failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.