Dear Whatcom County: We love you. Let us count the ways.

It’s census time friends; time to stand up and be counted. Which is why we are delighted to introduce you to the Whatcom Complete Count Committee (WCCC), a volunteer census support effort established by tribal and local governments, community leaders and organizations—including Whatcom Community Foundation— to ensure that every person on tribal lands and in all jurisdictions across Whatcom County is counted during the upcoming 2020 Census. That means you too!

Census activities are already underway in Whatcom County and we are part of WCCC’s efforts to make sure every person gets counted. Why? Three key reasons:

1.       The census touches every aspect of our lives, affecting everything from where businesses locate to funding allocations for schools, clinics and libraries; from the number of congressional seats and electoral college delegates we’re allotted to legislative boundaries and voting rights enforcement.

2.       An incomplete count means our businesses, school districts, healthcare providers, nonprofits and governments will all be making decisions based on data that undercounts our population. The implications of these decisions last for a decade (until the next census) — or for generations in the case of infrastructure.

3.       For every person not counted, our county loses an estimated $25,000 over the 10-year period until the next census.

Hard-to-Count Populations
Getting an accurate count is always difficult, but concerns about undercounting are greater this year for a number of reasons, including insufficient funding for outreach and assistance, the aftermath of the citizen question, which is likely to lower the response rates for immigrants regardless of status, and distrust of government, which tends to lead to undercounts in communities of color as well as immigrant households. 

But immigrants and minorities are just two of 19 groups identified by the Census Bureau as “hard-to-count.” Young, mobile people, low-income households, children under five, people experiencing homelessness, people who live in rural areas, LGBTQ people, renters and persons with mental and/or physical disabilities are among those who are traditionally not well represented in the census count. 

What you can do

Participate in the census. Look for your postcard in the mail April 1 and go online to answer 10 questions.
Help spread the word. Forward this newsletter to a friend. When you complete your census form, let people know on social media that you’ve been counted. 

The WCCC is committed to promoting census importance and participation, helping to troubleshoot barriers to participation, assessing this year’s efforts and preparing for 2030.

Like voting, completing the census isn’t just a great way to spend 10 minutes on April Fool’s Day, it’s your civic duty! It’s a way to participate in our democracy, helping to ensure the fair distribution of taxpayer funds and appropriate political representation.

Let’s make sure Whatcom County counts!