09.26.19

Locals mobilize for complete census count

The decennial census of population and housing in the United States is the basis for how federal funds are distributed to such programs as WIC, Head Start, education, transportation and public transit. It’s the starting point for how major public policy decisions are made. It determines how many people a state’s voters can send to Congress. This very TRENDS Report relies on the Census for a majority of its data.

The Census also holds a mirror to our community, showing us how well we know one another.

“An indicator of our changing society is we oftentimes don’t either have or create an opportunity to connect with the people around us,” said Rosemary Rodriguez, Executive Director of Together We Count, a nonprofit she organized to help ensure a fair and accurate 2020 Census. “The Census and this work is providing us an opportunity to know our neighbors a little better.”

Rodriguez, a former Denver City Councilwoman, has worked to promote a complete and accurate Census in Colorado since 1990. “This is my fourth census and every time it’s been an act of trying to get to know people and trying to connect and trying to help them understand how important it is.

”Boulder County’s hardest to count populations have traditionally been minorities and immigrants, seniors, children under 5, rural residents and college students.

The cities of Longmont and Boulder organized Complete Count Committees, and other small towns and interest groups in the county were also organizing to get out the count as of this writing.

“If we don’t know who’s in our community, how can we know all the true needs and all the true assets?” said Carmen Ramirez, Manager of Community and Neighborhood Resources for the City of Longmont. “What does it mean to our community to not count everybody? Are these things that we value? I think so.”

by Chris Barge