Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Educational assistance programs in Wisconsin schools depend on accurate census counts. Programs such as Title I and the National School Lunch Program, which have been successful in aiding disadvantaged students throughout the school year, rely on the support and resources federal funds provide.
A majority of these programs receive allocations based on census counts, stressing the crucial need for participation in the 2020 Census. An incomplete count puts many of these assistance programs at risk of losing a portion of $675 billion in federal funding.
With 81 percent of residents mailing in their census response form for the 2010 Census, Wisconsin had the No. 1 mail-in response rate out of all states. However, Wisconsin was also in the top-10 states to have lost out on federal funding, largely due to the communities being difficult to count. These populations, known as the “undercounted,” fall into one or more of the following four categories, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:
- Hard to locate
- Hard to contact
- Hard to interview
- Hard to persuade
The four groups specifically include children 5-years old and younger, those living in rented homes, young adults who live away from their parents, racial and ethnic minorities, those with low incomes or few resources, people with disabilities, those who are highly mobile and are not consistently living in one location, and those who do not trust the government.
In Wisconsin, the total “undercounted” population is over 613,000, according to the Hard to Count 2020 Project. To change that figure, organizations in Wisconsin are aiming to find new ways to count those who are historically “undercounted” for the 2020 Census. In October 2019, Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order to create a Complete Count Committee, which is encouraging full participation by Wisconsin residents in the 2020 Census.
In mid-March, homes across the U.S. will begin to receive invitations to complete the 2020 Census form. You can respond to the request either online, by phone, or by mail. For online tools and resources to help raise awareness and count the “undercounted,” visit WICount.wi.gov.