The 2020 Census is about two years away, but researchers already fear that not every person will be accurately counted. The Census Bureau, which every 10 years conducts its actual count of people as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, has been plagued with problems ranging from budget issues, cancelled tests and a leadership vacuum that has become unusually politicized. It is especially worrisome in New Jersey, which has growing communities of color and immigrant populations that could effectively be disenfranchised, experts say.
“It’s hugely consequential to people’s voices that we have a fair and accurate [Census] count,” said Indivar Dutta-Gupta, co-executive director of the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality.
The Census determines the mapping of congressional and state legislative districts so that every resident gets fair representation at the state and federal level. It’s how the federal government knows how to provide funding for roads, schools, Medicaid, housing assistance and neighborhood improvements.