Front Street

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

By Gigi

Even after a nationwide awareness campaign and intense mail back effort for questionnaires, the 2010 census is winding down…to sad results. Enumerators trained by the Census Bureau and cleared by the FBI have voiced their frustration regarding people not opening their doors or not answering their questions (ten in all). And I’m sorry to say this, but the complaints and frustration lie within the minority neighborhoods. Apathy and skepticism is causing the most under-served neighborhoods to be undercounted. The early days of summer represent the last chance for those not yet counted to be in the 2010 census mix. There are important things at stake here. Such as politically, the reapportionment of 435 seats in the House of Representatives, the alignment of the 435 Electoral College members who select the President and the reshaping of districts at the city and state levels. Also, the distribution of more than $4 trillion in federal fund is the economic piece of the equation.
There’s so much riding on the census, because there are many neighborhoods with significant immigrant population, including a good number who may be undocumented. Language barriers exist as well, as many neighborhoods have experienced an increase in people from South Asia, Mexico and West Africa. In addition, whether fluent in English or not, many immigrants come from countries where government mistrust runs deep.
But no matter what, and challenges notwithstanding, we have to do everything possible to insure an accurate count throughout the nation especially in those communities where by opening your doors to be counted can avoid Hurricane Katrina-like consequences later.