Letter to Congressman Cummings: Hearing on Progress Report on the 2020 Census
May 7, 2018
The Honorable Elijah Cummings
Oversight and Government Reform Committee
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
RE: Hearing on Progress Report on the 2020 Census
Dear Congressman Cummings,
We commend you for convening a hearing to receive a Progress Report on the 2020 Census. On behalf of Maryland Nonprofits, the state association of nonprofits, I urge you to act to promote a fair, accurate and complete Census count of all persons living in Maryland and across the country by supporting full funding of the Census Bureau and opposing inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census questionnaire.
Much depends on the success of the 2020 Census. Census Bureau data influences the allocation of $10.9 billion in Maryland each year, affecting spending on key programs, many of which are administered through nonprofit organizations. Undercounts of individuals and demographic groups can lead to inadequate representation and funding, which increases pressure on nonprofits as well as foundations, and state and local governments to do more to address unmet needs in the communities they serve.
We would also like express our opposition of the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census questionnaire. We feel a question on citizenship status would discourage participation in the count among minorities who fear the government would use this information to harm them and their families. A depressed and inaccurate count in state jurisdictions, such as Prince Georges and Montgomery counties, Baltimore City and the Eastern Shore could have grave economic consequences statewide.
Results of the 2020 Census will influence the nonprofit and other economic sectors for the next decade. Inaccurate data could result in inequitable distribution of resources for essential services such as education, healthcare, housing, and transportation. The importance of this challenge is widely appreciated. The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers has made counting everyone in the 2020 Census a top priority for their organization. Last month the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 855 (now Chapter 18) creating a 2020 Grant Program and mandating an appropriation of $5 million for this purpose in the FY 2020 state budget.
We thank you for hearing our appeal to fully fund the Census Bureau and exclude a citizenship question from the 2020 Census questionnaire, and for joining Maryland Nonprofits and our nonprofit members as we continue to work towards greater quality of life and equity in Maryland.
President & CEO