LETTER TO THE EDITOR

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

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Urgency needed for U.S. Census

In 2016 nearly $880 billion was disbursed to states from the federal government. South Carolina received nearly $12.7 billion of these funds to support programs in education, foster care, health care, vocational rehabilitation, transportation infrastructure and other needs.

The cause for this influx in funds – the United States Census. Census data is not only crucial in obtaining funding to aid our most vulnerable populations, it also helped South Carolina gain the 7th Congressional District for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011. Moreover, businesses use this data to determine economic development and investment prospects in communities.

Unfortunately, South Carolina is not treating the 2020 U.S. Census with the urgency it deserves. It is imperative that a complete count of all who reside in South Carolina occur -- citizens and non-citizens. Also, personal information will be kept private. As per federal law, census data is kept confidential for 72 years.

Beginning in early March 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will invite persons to complete the census through their official website, via a printed questionnaire, or by calling an official number. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some of the groups most at risk of being under-counted are: children under the age of 5, residents of rural areas, undocumented immigrants, migrant workers, ethnic minorities and the homeless.

At this time, South Carolina has not devoted funds to ensure a complete and accurate accounting of residents. Thus it is imperative that residents and communities do everything within their power to ensure they are counted.

For more information on the 2020 U.S. Census – and to apply for temporary employment with the United States Census Bureau – visit www.2020Census.gov. Furthermore, additional materials regarding the 2020 U.S. Census can be found on the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs’ website at www.CMA.sc.gov/census-2020-south-carolina. There are also opportunities for organizations and community groups to apply for grants to ensure complete counts through the United Way Association of South Carolina.

Brenton Brown, Columbia

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