March 15, 2019

Duckworth Hosts Community Briefing on Census 2020, Stressing Importance of Accurate Count


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today hosted a community briefing on the 2020 Census, bringing together leaders from various advocacy groups for a discussion on the importance of accurately counting underrepresented communities—as the constitution mandates—to ensure Illinois receives full representation in Congress and necessary federal funding. Last week a second federal judge issued a court order to block the Trump administration’s plans to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census and ruled Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross illegally added the question. Duckworth was joined by U.S. Representatives Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL-4) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), as well as representatives from Forefront Democracy Initiative, Common Cause Illinois, MALDEF and Access Living. Photos from today’s event are available here.

“The census has a real impact on our everyday lives,” Duckworth said. “Historically, many of our more vulnerable communities have been undercounted. This matters because the census determines the distribution of Congressional seats and federal funding, and a lower response rate means that our state gets fewer dollars than we need and less representation than we deserve. The census doesn’t just matter for constitutional scholars, it matters for each of us who cares about our families’ health and our kids’ education, for our Veterans’ wellbeing and our nation’s strength.”

“My constituents would be deeply affected and lose critical funding and full representation if the citizenship question were to be included in the 2020 Census,” Garcia said. “Two courts have already struck down the Trump administration’s decision to include it on the census. We must continue working with partners and community organizations to ensure the integrity of our democracy and the constitutional mandate to count every person living in the United States.”

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the 2020 Census to every American,” Schakowsky said. “There is so much at stake, with 132 programs that distribute $675 billion using Census data, ranging from Medicaid to federal direct student loans. Our communities rely on this funding, and we must ensure that all populations are represented and counted accurately. Our children, family, friends and neighbors depend on it.”  

Duckworth has been an advocate for a fair and accurate census count, calling on the Trump Administration last May to explain the last-minute addition of this question, which has since been blocked by federal judges. She also co-sponsored the Census Equality Act, which would require the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure the approximately 10 million Americans who identify as LGBTQ are properly counted for and represented in Census data collection efforts. Duckworth hosted a similar briefing with community leaders in the Quad Cities in February.