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Completing the 2020 Census key for NM’s well-being

The 2020 Census is our once-every-10-years opportunity to create the right foundation for our present and future generations by securing funding for education, health care and infrastructure for each of our communities across New Mexico. And it all starts by completing your census form: online, on paper or over the phone.

Since March 12, every household across the country began receiving official U.S. Census Bureau invitations asking them to self-respond to the decennial count. Making sure every person in New Mexico is counted is crucial to ensure every child and family in the state receives their fair share of funding and political representation for the next 10 years.

This year’s effort focuses on making sure those who have been historically undercounted – Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics – are accurately represented. Because when we are all counted, every one of our families across the state wins.

An accurate count is essential for New Mexico’s well-being. For every person that is not counted in the census, New Mexico loses an average of $3,700 every year, according to data from the University of New Mexico Geospatial and Population Studies Department. A 1% population undercount in New Mexico would result in over $600 million lost in federal funding over a 10-year period.

Census funding also directly impacts many of the public programs many of our families rely on to be able to succeed.

According to George Washington University, in 2016 New Mexico received an estimated $7.8 billion in federal funding based on data from the 2010 census count. The funding came directly through 55 federal programs that include: Medicaid, SNAP, CHIP, and many more – all essential resources for family and child well-being.

The new COVID-19 reality has thrown a wrench in many peoples’ lives and even into most census operations. But before the COVID-19 threat, New Mexico already faced a series of challenges to get an accurate count because of the rural nature of our state and the fact not all households have access to reliable broadband internet. Despite the challenges, New Mexicans across the state have stepped up and come together to ensure the importance of the census is shared to every corner of the state. And as part of the collaborative effort, a multitude of community-based-organizations are currently carrying out digital and phone outreach across the state to motivate New Mexicans to fill out their 2020 census.

We are also extremely proud and grateful that during the 2020 Legislature, state officials appropriated a total of $8.5 million to carry out a comprehensive education and outreach campaign to encourage every New Mexican to participate in the 2020 Census.

Let’s not forget it will take each and every one of us to make sure we bring visibility to our families’ needs by speaking up for our communities and the future we deserve. We have the power to shape our future and a stronger New Mexico begins with the 2020 census.

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