Texas is one of few states not to establish a Complete Count Committee for the 2020 census, so local entities are teaming up to ensure an accurate count of all San Antonio and Bexar County residents, which is directly tied to federal funding and congressional representation.
Communities that are often missed or undercounted tend to be the state’s Hispanic and black populations. Without an accurate count of these communities, Texas could lose the opportunity to pick up three congressional seats.
Also at stake is the allocation of $675 billion in federal funding for education, Medicaid, Pell Grants, food vouchers, transportation projects and more.
The proposed inclusion of a "citizenship question" on the 2020 census caused major concerns that immigrant homes and families would not participate because of fear of deportation. That question was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court, but local officials must still overcome community distrust of the system brought on by this controversy.
What are some other barriers to achieving a complete count? What plans do the City and County have to reach vulnerable populations? If there is an undercount, what programs and services are most at risk?
What new or unconventional approaches can be taken to improve census engagement? Why is there no coordinated effort by the State of Texas to tally its population? What strategies are other cities implementing to get a complete count?
- Elma Nieto-Rodriguez, member of the San Antonio Public Library leadership team and lead on the library census efforts
- Berta Rodriguez, census administrator for the City of San Antonio
- Dwayne Robinson, constituent services director and 2020 census liaison for Bexar County
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, September 10.