Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis Randall said she was pleased following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that blocks a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census questionnaire.
Officials with the Loudoun County Complete Count Committee said they perceived the question as a barrier to its efforts to make sure that everyone living in Loudoun County is counted in next year’s census.
“I am pleased with the high court’s decision – a census with no citizenship question continues a precedent set in 2010 and will make our residents more comfortable participating in the census,” Randall (D), who chairs the Loudoun County Complete Count Committee, said in a prepared statement. “It is so important that every Loudoun resident is counted so that their voice is heard and the community is represented. The census affects the county in many ways, from the amount of federal funding we receive to how our legislative districts are determined.”
The Supreme Court’s opinion does not fully resolve the issue, according to county officials. It notes that the U.S. Department of Commerce did not adequately justify the inclusion of a question about immigration and ordered the case to be reconsidered by the lower court.
“I recognize that this is not a done deal and that the process is continuing, but it is an important step forward,” Randall said.
The Complete Count Committee emphasizes that census responses are confidential. Federal law prohibits data collected in the census from being shared with other federal agencies. The local committee is working to reach out to groups in Loudoun who have historically been under-counted or not responded, such as ethnic or minority populations, immigrants, renters and low-income households. Members of the committee represent various sectors of the community, including representatives of the Loudoun County government, education, business, community groups, faith-based organizations, homeowners associations and regional associations.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors established the Complete Count Committee to raise awareness about the 2020 Census and to help increase the response rate to the census questionnaire.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for every Virginian who is not counted, the state or region loses $2,000 per year for 10 years in federal assistance program allocations. Loudoun officials say the county stands to benefit from more than $30 million in federal funding for education, health care and public safety programs over the next decade.
The U.S. Constitution requires that a census of the country’s population be taken every 10 years. In 2020, the census will be conducted online and by phone as well as the traditional mail response.
More information about the census and the Loudoun County Complete Count Committee is online at Loudoun.gov/2020Census.