Boston City Councilors Ed Flynn (District 2) and Michelle Wu (at-large) requested a hearing regarding ways to promote achieving an accurate count for Boston’s 2020 Census.
“The census not only dictates how many elected congressional members we have,”said Councilor Flynn, “but, even more importantly than that, it determines the federal resources that come into a city or a state.”
Access to certain benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is expected to see cuts by the federal government, is determined through a city’s census. However, Councilor Flynn noted that the Trump administration’s push for a citizenship question would have a negative impact on the return of the census from residents, and believes the City Council has a responsibility to work with communities to rebuild trust, inform, and encourage participation.
“What’s important about the census is that everybody counts. Everyone is important,” he said.
“The numbers tell the story already. We know that historically Boston has one of the lowest rates of return for the census and participation in the country.” said Councilor Wu.
Out of the list of 100 largest cities, Boston is the ninth hardest to count cities in the country. According to Councilor Wu, this is because there are many undercounted residents in Boston such as students and renters. Boston is also home to a large population of immigrants and non-English speaking residents who may not feel safe or understand the census.
Councilors Flynn and Wu expressed the importance of community outreach across the city with trusted community partners in order to receive full participation for the 2020 census.