by Savannah Plaisted ’21
With 2020 quickly approaching, it is more important than ever for Providence College students to be aware of the role they play in the upcoming census.
Although most students have a basic understanding of what the census is—in essence, a head count of the U.S. population—they may not understand the gravity of the impacts the census will have on the next 10 years of politics.
The most crucial thing for PC students to be aware of in this upcoming census is that if they are a student residing on campus, they must count themselves and cannot be counted by their parents, given the fact that they live most of the year on campus.
In addition, understanding what the census determines is crucial to realizing its importance.
The census is used for reapportioning Congressional seats, determining Medicare and Medicaid funding allotted to states, infrastructure reform, and services provided to groups in need.
The census is far more than a simple head count. Not only do the results have clear political implications, there are also lives depending on programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Another concern is President Donald Trump’s continued claims that he will use the information found in 2020 to deport undocumented immigrants, even though this is not legally possible for anyone to do—the President of the United States included.
Trump has officially dropped his plan to include a citizenship question on the census in the face of multiple Federal Courts, including the Supreme Court, ruling against him.
The Census Board has been approached by various organizations since its founding to provide the names of specific people to groups such as the FBI, and the Board prides itself on having never backed down to big organizations like this, and keeping the information of individuals confidential.
Thus, President Trump’s attempt was meant to be divisive in nature and should not be heeded by the general public.
The Rhode Island Census Committee has been working hard to counter this rhetoric and reassure people that they can disclose the information asked by the census without fear of deportation.
Given that this is an article written for PC students that are residing in Rhode Island most of the year and could impact the very lives of these students, it is worth noting that if people do not fully participate in this census, Rhode Island is in danger of losing one of its two representatives in the House.
With all of this in mind, please consider the importance of participating in the upcoming 2020 census. Even if you are going abroad in the spring, use an absentee census.
Know that, in light of the court decisions against President Trump, you will not be deported for answering the questions on the census and that there is a lot weighing on these results.