I took the 2020 Census online last week and aside from the major issue I have with the not-so-veiled racism, which I will leave for another time, my major concern right now is that I told the government how many people were alive in my house on the day I filled it out and while #staypositive I hope we all make it to April 1, I also have to say that in all honesty it’s possible one or all of us could be in the hospital by then and…I can’t write it. I can’t. Let’s just say that all four of us better still be alive and well love after April 1st.
Why does this matter?
Aside from my own personal nuclear family, this matters because there are tons of people who have filled out the census or who are going to fill out the census in the next week or so who have since become ill or will become ill from COVID-19 and some of these people will die.
The death toll in Italy, China, Spain, here in the United States…it’s ridiculous. It’s insane. It’s mind boggling. When you find out Italy stopped counting their dead. When you find out Spain turned an ice rink into a morgue. When you find out the United States has literally no idea how many cases of coronavirus we have and yet it could all be over by Easter. (Please tell me you’re not believing that, by the way).
My point is this, and my intention is in no way to minimize the lives being lost or the humanity of this pandemic: how will we know our census is correct?
The census is kind of a big deal.
The census is a major undertaking. It goes down every ten years. It cost $2.6 million to do the census in 1990 and I can only assume it will cost as much or more to do it in 2020. So this is not a cheap undertaking. Nor is it without serious labor. For every census address that is not returned or returned incorrectly or incomplete, actual physical people are sent out to the address.
Yes. Amid COVID-19 people will be dispatched to follow up with homes that did not complete the census.
The census is a “constitutional obligation,” and therefore there is absolutely nothing that can stop the census from taking place fully and completely every ten years. And you actually want to be counted in the census, you really really do because it allocates funding to your neighborhood and determines your number of seats in the House of Representatives among other things.
We need the census to be complete. We need the census to be accurate. We also need people to contain the spread of coronavirus.
How will we know it’s accurate?
How will the government know that on March 20th there were four people living in 1234 Main Street, Anywhere, USA but that on April 10th one of those people died? And when you take this and multiply it across all the residences that will lose loved ones to this disease across America, how will we know that our numbers are correct?
If we are a nation of 327 million people today-ish and by August we are a nation of 294 million I would say it matters. It matters for businesses, real estate, districting, funding, and those precious House seats I mentioned earlier.
How is the government going to know that I live in one district but my nearest hospital is in another district? In other words, I took my census in city A but my death was recorded in city B. Or will the numbers somehow work themselves out when looked at as counties?
This whole post is depressing and morbid and disgusting and I also can’t stop thinking about it. I feel like I’m missing a major component in all this. I feel like there’s some major A-HA! thing that I should be getting out of this but all I can think of are the people dying. So many people dying.
And we all have to assume it’s an inevitability. We will all get coronavirus at some point. It will be impossible to avoid. We are all just waiting for the hospitals to get to a place where they can handle the influx of patients, that whole flattening the curve thing. So if everything about this is a matter of “when” and not “if” it all becomes a bit overwhelming. And right now I can’t see the forest for the trees (oddly the title of a book I’m reading right now, too).
Help me. What am I missing? How would the inaccuracies of the 2020 Census affect you?
~~~That’s one hour~~~