A population census is an essential tool applied in various spheres of society. The census is critical to determine the number of people who will participate in elections. The census is also extremely important for identifying health risks or compiling statistics on national economic tendencies. Such statistics can be helpful when developing governmental plans for implementing changes in communities. Therefore, the census can potentially impact the accuracy and efficiency of public services in addressing the health, housing, work, culture, and education needs of communities. This paper argues that the census is the fundamental instrument that the government uses to meet the needs of the nation.
The census topic is widely presented in the news due to the broadest application of data collected through it. The census is taken every ten years, and in the 2020 census, for the first time, people could participate through the Internet, by phone, or by filling out a paper form (Merica, 2021). Census results received wide attention from the media and the general public. Considering that the census was conducted on the eve of the presidential elections, the most discussed topic was the redistribution of the weight of states in the electoral process. Population growth in Western and Southern states and declining growth in Northeastern and Southwestern states have led to a new alignment of political forces (Merica, 2021). The greatest resonance was caused by the acquisition by Texas, Arizona, and Florida of the indicator in the aggregate of +6 seats in Congress (Mutnick, 2021). However, after the revision and in the course of litigation related to the delay in the presentation of data, this figure changed to +3, as Arizona got one seat and Florida lost both seats (Mutnick, 2021).
The size of the state population determines the subsequent redistribution of district boundaries and the value of the state in the electoral process and the subsequent state funding through programs aimed at improving the well-being of the state population. This is especially important given the damage the pandemic has inflicted on local economies and businesses. Equally important, the census recorded an increase in the number of Americans who do not have health insurance to 30 million, which could be one of the reasons why people were reluctant to participate in preventive measures or receive testing (Goldstein & Siegel, 2020). Even though the census results recorded a meager poverty rate of just over 10,1% in 2019 – a record figure since the Great Depression, the pandemic probably showed a significant adverse impact on this characteristic (Goldstein & Siegel, 2020). An average of 10,1% meant 9% for whites, 18.8% for blacks, and 15.7% for Hispanics, which, despite the disparity, is a record for all groups (Goldstein & Siegel, 2020).
There was a public discussion about whether all groups of the population were taken into account since the revision of decisions on the Southern states caused protests and doubts about whether Latin American groups were properly counted (Montellaro & Mutnick, 2021). Problems with not counting all population groups are not uncommon, as the last census did not count 6% of African Americans and 2% of whites (Montellaro & Mutnick, 2021). This issue received additional resonance due to Trump’s proposal to exclude migrants, which led to lengthy litigation that ended with the rejection of the proposal.
Thus, it was demonstrated why the census is so important for the US nation. Firstly, it determines the distribution of the weight of states in the electoral process and is a harbinger of redistribution in political forces or the entry of new political actors into the arena. Secondly, the census determines the amount of government funding for states. In addition, the census is a unique source of demographic statistics, including statistics related to the health and well-being of citizens. Therefore, the national census is a handy sociologic tool that has numerous practical applications.
Goldstein, A., & Siegel, R. (2020). Fewer Americans had health insurance last year before pandemic struck, Census Bureau report shows. The Washington Post. Web.
Merica, D. (2021). Census Bureau announces 331 million people in US, Texas will add two congressional seats. CNN. Web.
Montellaro, Z., & Mutnick, A. (2021). Census data leaves Latinos wondering: Were we counted? POLITICO. Web.
Mutnick, A. (2021). Census surprise: Texas gains only 2 seats as shift to Sun Belt slows. POLITICO. Web.