Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that effectively blocked the addition of a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census. The question would have threatened the accuracy of the Census count, putting hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds for vital health and social services at risk and harming efforts to improve racial equity in American communities.
For the Horizon Foundation, equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to live a long, healthy life — and no one is left behind because of who they are or where they live. Yet research shows that some members of our community face barriers to good health, overall wellness and opportunity. Communities of color, in particular, experience higher levels of chronic disease, deaths and disabilities.
A citizenship question would have increased the likelihood of households not responding to the Census – particularly among immigrant communities and communities of color – leading to undercounts that would result in reduced funding for important services like Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Head Start. When communities do not get their fair share of resources, it also hurts the nonprofits and foundations that support programs needed by local families. For this reason, more than 300 foundations from around the country, including the Horizon Foundation, have opposed adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
We are heartened by this ruling and encouraged by the grassroots efforts of organizations like the Howard County Chinese School, one of our equity grantees, to provide education and outreach to local immigrant and minority households about the importance of the Census. Our community depends on making the Census count.