What is the Census and Why it’s Important for People with Disabilities

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People with disabilities are a part of every single community in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people with disabilities make up 26% of the US population, nearly 1 in 4. But they continue to be ignored and their participation in the Census is historically low. Issues including physical and attitudinal barriers, economic inequality, isolation, and information decimation make it difficult for many people with disabilities to participate.

As a result, the U.S. Census Bureau has identified people with disabilities as “hard to count”, which means they are at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census. And with the deadline now moved to October 5, 2020, it is more important than ever to get all communities counted in this year’s Census. Although the Census is only every 10 years, the data collected plays a vital role in the lives of people with disabilities each day.

Required by the Constitution, the Census is supposed to ensure fair representation. Ideally, our leaders rely on an accurate census count to make funding decisions for social programs. It is important to get the numbers right so that everyone—including people with disabilities—are represented in the decisions to be made for the next ten years.

And many of our nation’s programs depend on census data for issues that affect people with disabilities, like health care, fair housing, employment, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), special education grants, and Medicaid. These are among the top 16 largest federal programs whose funding—totaling nearly $600 billion a year—depend on the data collected. That money goes to your community’s schools, firehouses, hospitals. An accurate census helps federal agencies monitor discrimination and implement civil rights laws that protect voting rights, equal employment opportunities, and more.

So, how else is the Census is used?

• to determine congressional representation
• how road construction projects are prioritized
• to determine school lunch programs
• by non-profits to justify grant requests
• and many other programs

So how do you fill out the Census?

The Census can be filled out TODAY online at https://my2020census.gov/, or by calling 844-330-2020.

The questionnaire asks each household to answer a few basic questions about everyone living in the home. The provided information is completely confidential and census surveys are available in English, Spanish, and a variety of other languages.

The last day for all citizens, including people with disabilities, to fill out the Census is October 5. The #2020Census counts and so do people with disabilities. Make sure your census form is complete and BE COUNTED today! #DisabilityCounts2020, http://disabilitycounts2020.org

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