Black Mayors demand legislative changes to avoid catastrophic flaws in the 2020 Census
The U.S. Census Bureau’s announcement that it will suspend all counting efforts for the 2020 census by the end of September – a month ahead of schedule – will be detrimental in our efforts to secure an accurate analysis of our nation’s population. While the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) applauds the Census Bureau’s decision to implement a robust field data collection effort and hire additional employees to collect this vital data, we do not believe ending field counts and the self-responding option by September 30 is in our country’s best interest.
“Our country depends upon an accurate census count to determine representation and distribute billions in federal funds to local communities,” said Mayor McKinley L. Price, DDS, Mayor of Newport News, VA and president of the African American Mayors Association.
“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, communities across the country are struggling to collect responses. Concluding a month earlier than planned would virtually guarantee an incomplete census that dramatically undercounts historically underrepresented groups, including people of color and immigrants. I encourage the U.S. Census Bureau to rethink this unrealistic deadline. I also urge Congress to extend statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting in the next COVID-19 relief bill.”
Senate Republicans’ recently proposed HEALS Act would provide some additional funding for the Census. But that ignores the core of the counting issue according to the organization of Black mayors.
“Funding is certainly important, but it means nothing if the difficult job of counting every person in our country is squeezed into an unrealistic time frame. Already, Census participation is lagging. We need high-quality data and time to ensure we meet the Constitutional mandate of conducting an accurate population count. It’s appalling that policymakers would seek to prevent people from being represented,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren — the 1st vice president of AAMA.
About The African American Mayors Association
The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is the only organization exclusively representing over 500 African-American mayors across the United States. AAMA seeks to empower local leaders for the benefit of their citizens. The role of the AAMA includes taking positions on public policies that impact the vitality and sustainability of cities; providing mayors with leadership and management tools and creating a forum for member mayors to share best practices related to municipal management.