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What the 2020 Census may mean for Arizona

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jun 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-10 01:33:20-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Medicaid, low-income housing, school meals -- just a few of the programs that are paid for by the federal government.

Census results determine how much money Arizona receives.

"Those are the kinds of programs that we either gain, or we lose, depending on how accurate the count is," Ward 6 Councilmember Steve Kozachik said.

The next count is happening in 2020. Kozachik says we'll feel the impact of the census over the next decade. The more people who are counted, the more money the state receives.

"This isn't just a small amount of money," Kozachik said. "If you extrapolate it over ten years, we're talking about tens of millions of dollars that we either get in this community, or we don't get in this community."

The census also impacts congressional districts, because that's based off population. In 2010, Arizona gained another seat in Congress.

Census shows Arizona 4th fastest growing state in US

For next year's count, neighborhood association leaders and other community members are forming Complete Count Committees. They're working to reach the otherwise hard to find groups of people, including the homeless and the elderly.

"A lot of people that maybe, either because they don't understand, or they're afraid to answer the census for whatever reason, they might be short changed," Nancy Huff, a committee member said.

Kozachik says estimates from 2010 suggest Tucson lost out on tens of millions of dollars in federal funding because of low census participation. Counting yourself in the census is required by law.

"Most of the people who are under counted, are also the same ones who are reliant on a lot of the federal programs that are funded, that they could otherwise be benefiting from," Kozachik said.

Census Day is April 1, 2020. You can count yourself online, by phone, or by mail.

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