The halt in US Census count could heavily impact California
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles leaders believe the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to stop the once-a-decade headcount of every U.S. resident will impact the state.
"We're gonna have a less accurate census than we should because the census is going to predicate much more on guesswork than it needs to be. That could have meaningful and severe consequences for us here in Los Angeles because it could affect political representation for us in Washington and the federal funding that we receive for some really crucial services here. It's about basic services that are crucial to everyday life here and it's about fair representation on Capitol Hill," said Mike Feurer, the LA City Attorney.
Mike Feurer released this statement following the U.S Supreme Court ruling:
"Today's decision will result in a less accurate Census--unduly predicated on guesswork, rather than actual counting--with fair political representation and crucial federal funding at risk for cities like Los Angeles," said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. "While we're disappointed, our fight is not over. The stakes are too high for the matter to end here."
Feurer and a national coalition sued the Trump Administration in August over the decision to condense the data collection for the Census into 4.5 months.
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"We're part of a national coalition in this case, and we're talking to our partners across the country right now about the best strategy moving forward," said Feurer.
The U.S Central Bureau is showing Census data has been submitted for at least 99% of all homes in the country, but Feurer said it does not tell the entire story.
"That [99%] count has relied on a lot of guesswork because if they go to a door and no one responds, after a time they decide just to infer how many people are there, ask neighbors how many people might be there. They don't know," said Feurer.
According to the Census website, the census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for communities. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.
The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
"It looks fairly certain, not specifically with the census but with slow growth that California's going to lose a seat, we're going to go from 53 to 52," said Douglas Johnson, the President of the National Demographics Corporation.
Johnson said the slow growth in the state coupled with the possibility of a low Census turn out could result in losing a second seat too.
"That both costs us votes in congress so when it comes to which states get transportation funding whether funding goes to the light rail for LA or for freeway building in Nebraska, we lose two votes on that and it comes into play on the electoral college of course in future elections too," said Johnson.
Johnson has been studying the data.
"The last estimates I saw and these estimates are very rough because they're before Covid was California was expected to hold on to that 52nd seat by 5,000 people over Minnesota. California has a much harder population to count than Minnesota does. You have many more immigrants. English is a second language, renters, all the factors making it hard to count so it really was worth California's investment to try to get people to count but it's going to be a real nail biter to see if we hold on to that seat," said Johnson.
Johnson said the first seat will likely be lost in the San Gabriel Valley, likely in Artesia or Cerritos.
Local mom, Guadalupe Delasco, said she understands the importance of taking the census.
"It is very important [to take the census] because we need to show our presence in this country as Latinos, to have our voices heard, and to get better health care and for our kids in schools," said Delasco.
Delasco also said there are some fears from people who don't have their immigration documents up to date about taking the Census, but she hopes people did their research to take part in the Census.
The deadline for producing the latest state population counts is December 31, and it will guarantee that President Trump receives those numbers while still in office, even if he is not reelected.