Last Mayor Martin Walsh kicked off the year-long outreach campaign to ensure a fair and complete count in the 2020 U.S. Census.
At the time Walsh was joined by a group of non-profit leaders and advocates to start the decennial count that determines everything from representation in Congress, to federal funds for schools, affordable housing, infrastructure and health care programs.
Walsh recently reminded Jamaica Plain and Boston residents to take the 2020 Census during this time of physical distancing.
“To date, only 49.8 percent of households have responded, which is lower than the statewide average response rate of 64.4 percent,” said Walsh. “We need to increase the rate of response.”
Walsh said much of the funding that comes from the Census count helps the most vulnerable among us.
“It provides, for instance, health care, Medicare and Medicaid, public education grants for special education and Boston Public Schools, food and nutrition programs like SNAP and free school breakfast/lunch programs, affordable housing and Section 8 vouchers, and child care Head Start for low-income families.”
Walsh said the 2020 Census is a way to directly increase community power in Jamaica Plain.
“It will impact our daily lives for the next 10 years,” he said. “Many of Boston’s communities are at risk of an undercount. We need a complete and accurate count because all of Boston deserves to be seen, heard, and invested in.”
Walsh said the Census has never been more accessible and residents can respond to the 2020 Census online at my2020census.gov, over the phone, or by mail. You can respond to the 2020 Census online or over the phone in 13 different languages.
The 2010 census counted 617,000 people in the City of Boston. Since that time it is estimated the city is currently at 700,000 or over 700,000 residents. During the last three censuses the city has lost a Congressperson all three times.
“We had 12 at one point, then 11 and then 10 and now we have nine,” said Walsh. “The point is we have fewer people representing us in Congress. It’s so important to be counted. We need to make sure we are all counted because it determines our representation in Congress and I can’t underscore that enough. We need accurate census counts to protect our voices in Congress.”
In Jamaica Plain the investments that were made from the 2010 census were free lunches at public schools, funds for affordable housing, senior services, and job training for residents for the future.
The city has contributed $100,000 to support Boston’s outreach efforts by providing grants to community-based organizations here in Jamaica Plain and more support to City departments.
Walsh pointed out that for every person not counted in the upcoming census equals $2,400 in lost federal money every year for the next ten years.
“Think of it? If 100,000 people are not counted that translates into 2.4 billion the state loses in federal aid over the next decade,” said Walsh.