‘It’s going horribly’: College towns fret about census count

A cyclist crosses an intersection on the campus of Arizona State University on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
A cyclist crosses an intersection on the campus of Arizona State University on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Betsy Landin was listed by her parents on the 2020 census as living at her family’s home in Phoenix when she really should have been counted in Tempe, where she studies finance at Arizona State University.

Also missing from Tempe’s tally was Arizona State political science major Betzabel Ayala, whose mother counted her on the family’s census form in Phoenix because she was living at home after coronavirus lockdowns led to a nationwide exodus from college towns last spring.

In yet another example of the widespread disruption caused by the global outbreak, hundreds of thousands of U.S. college students who normally live off campus in non-university housing are being counted for the 2020 census at their parents’ homes or other locations when they were supposed to be counted where they go to school.

The confusion has enormous implications for college towns, which may face severe shortfalls in federal dollars and a dilution of political power.

“We really didn’t have any instruction or guidance at school about how to fill out the census,” Landin said.

No easy solution has presented itself. The Census Bureau sought the help of college administrators in getting rosters for off-campus students who left town, but only half of the schools cooperated. Many universities were reluctant to participate because of privacy concerns and because off-campus students at many schools are not obligated to provide information about where they live.

Ken Jones
Ken Jones

And a significant chunk of the information provided by the schools is missing important information, such as birthdates, according to a report last month by the bureau’s watchdog agency.

From Tempe to places like Bloomington, Indiana, and Gainesville, Florida, the looming undercount could harm college towns across the country. In some places with major universities, students make up as much as three-quarters of the population.

“The potential undercount of students during this pandemic will have negative financial impacts for the city for years,” said Ken Jones, Tempe’s deputy city manager and chief financial officer.

The timing for counting off-campus students couldn’t have been worse: Not long after the 2020 census began for most people in March, much of the U.S. went into lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and many schools switched to online classes, leading to an exodus from college towns.

The Census Bureau says college students should be counted where they would have been on April 1 — at school — if not for the outbreak.

The undercount problem involves only students living off campus in non-university housing; the Census Bureau relies on records supplied by colleges to count students living in dorms or university apartments.

Arizona State University political science major Betzabel Ayala poses for a photo on campus Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Because of the coronavirus, Ayala is one of hundreds of thousands of off-campus U.S. college students who are being counted for the 2020 census at their parents' homes or other locations when they were supposed to be counted where they go to school. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Arizona State University political science major Betzabel Ayala poses for a photo on campus Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Because of the coronavirus, Ayala is one of hundreds of thousands of off-campus U.S. college students who are being counted for the 2020 census at their parents’ homes or other locations when they were supposed to be counted where they go to school. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Still, off-campus students make up about 4 million of the 19 million college students in the U.S., according to Dudley Poston, a demographer at Texas A&M University.

“College students overwhelm the demography of places with large universities,” Poston said. “This could be a costly setback for university towns.”

In State College, Pennsylvania, home to Penn State University, the percentage of students who answered the 2020 census either online, by mail or by phone in a downtown neighborhood populated with apartments for thousands of off-campus students was 25%, compared with 60% during the 2010 census, said Douglas Shontz, a city spokesman.

“It’s going horribly,” Shontz said.

With less than a month left until the census ends, the city has placed signs and banners all over downtown State College, encouraging students to answer the questionnaire that helps determine the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending and how many congressional seats each state gets.

The city also spent $5,000 mailing postcard reminders about the census to students who returned for the fall semester to off-campus apartments or fraternity and sorority houses.

“We are kind of begging at this point for students to do the right thing,” Shontz said.

In Athens, Ohio, home to Ohio University, the mayor estimates each missed student accounts for at least $1,400 a year in lost funding for the community. If last spring’s graduating class of 3,500 students isn’t counted, that could translate into $49 million in lost federal funding over the decade, said Mayor Steve Patterson.

People use a footbridge over University Avenue on the campus of Arizona State University on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
People use a footbridge over University Avenue on the campus of Arizona State University on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The question of where to count off-campus college students in any once-a-decade census can be confusing enough, with parents often incorrectly thinking their college-age children should be tallied with them when they should be counted where the students do most of their sleeping.

After college students began moving back home because of the outbreak, the Census Bureau had to shelve plans to send door-knockers to neighborhoods around campuses starting in April.

Now that the disruption has extended into the fall, hopes of finding and counting students before the census is completed have dwindled further. Some college towns are considering drastic measures, like asking for another count of their communities, but the cities would have to foot the bill for a “special census,” which could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University, has 67,000 residents. Officials are worried that if the 2020 census misses the more than 15,000 students who live off-campus, it could put the city’s population count below 50,000.

Dipping below that threshold would cost Ames millions of dollars in federal funding annually for low-to-middle-income housing and transportation projects, making a special census more appealing, said Gloria Betcher, a professor who sits on the Ames City Council.

“From our perspective, this is like watching an accident in the long term,” Betcher said. “We are watching these cars approaching each other and seeing that they’re going to crash. It’s not surprising to us, but it is surprising that nothing is being done to stop the accident.”

Mike Schneider reported from Orlando, Florida, and Anita Snow reported from Phoenix.

Arizona school funding still lagging, report shows

State funding for Arizona’s kindergarten to grade 12 public school system remains nearly 14 percent below what it was before the Great Recession hit in 2007, according to an analysis of school funding in 48 states released Wednesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The study by the Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan research institute showed that even with an infusion of money since Gov. Doug Ducey took office in 2016, the state’s per-pupil spending is well below its 2008 funding levels when adjusted for inflation. It also said per-pupil formula spending dropped last year by 1.2 percent.

Gov. Doug Ducey
Gov. Doug Ducey (Photo by Katie Campbell/Arizona Capitol Times)

Ducey has touted his efforts to boost K-12 spending.

“Arizona has put more money into K-12 education over the last three years than any other state in the country, without raising taxes,” he told KTAR radio earlier this month. “It has been the focus of every budget that we’ve had.”

But much of that increase came from settling a lawsuit bought by schools that alleged the state illegally cut spending during the recession. The settlement added some state spending but most of the new cash came from increasing withdrawals from the state land trust dedicated to schools.

The study found that Arizona school funding hasn’t recovered from the cuts despite the new spending and could be getting worse, said Mike Leachman, the center’s state fiscal research director.

“It’s clear that Arizona school funding is down significantly and the data we have suggest further worsening at least in terms of formula funding, which is the major source for general support for all school districts in the state,” he said.

The study used U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2008 through 2015 to review all states except Hawaii and Indiana. It also reviewed state budget documents from 2016-18 for Arizona and 11 other states that had the biggest cuts though the current budget year.

The analysis showed Arizona cut more than any other state through 2015, chopping 36.6 percent of its spending on schools. Local districts made up some of the difference. But even including extra local funding, the census data shows a 24.6 percent reduction for Arizona school funding.

The Republican governor has made school funding his top priority since taking office in January 2016, but he also refused to halt phased-in corporate tax cuts than eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars from the state revenue stream. He has vowed that the state budget he will propose in January will add more K-12 school funding.

The center said seven of the 12 states with the biggest cuts in school funding also cut corporate or personal income taxes, a move it said hurts school budgets.

Overall, the funding cuts hurt the economy because of lower employment in schools, low teacher pay, higher class sizes and a lack of funding to implement school reforms, the center said.

Arizona voters should reject big green tax on poor


Liberals love to talk about helping the poor and the middle class, so why are they pushing one of the most regressive taxes in modern times?

Proposition 127 would require half of Arizona electric power production by 2030 to come mostly from wind and solar power. Green groups and activists like billionaire Tom Steyer say that Prop. 127 will be virtually cost-free to Arizonans. Really? In my study for the Goldwater Institute, I examined the disappointing results of states like California, New York, and Vermont, which have been duped into similar energy regulations. States with renewable mandates of 50 percent or more, as required by 127, have average power costs that are roughly 50 percent higher than states that allow utilities to buy the cheapest energy from the power grid.

Stephen Moore
Stephen Moore

A recent Wall Street Journal analysis found that California, which has already moved to a 50 percent green energy mandate, charges businesses and families 67 percent more for electricity than cheaper states like Arizona. Thanks in part to its stringent renewable mandate, the WSJ reports, “California electricity rates have surged 30 percent since 2011 compared to an 8 percent increase nationwide.”

Florida, by contrast, which uses natural gas, solar energy, clean coal, and nuclear power and doesn’t have a clean energy mandate, has seen its utility costs fall by 3 percent over this same period. Does Arizona want to be like high-cost California or low-cost Florida?

Prop. 127’s hardest-hit victims will be low-income families. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the poor pay about five times more of their income on energy than rich families do. The energy mandate is Robin Hood in reverse: It steals from the poor to subsidize the rich.

These price hikes might make some sense if the scheme would actually clean the air—but it won’t. The mandate doesn’t include nuclear power or natural gas as “clean energy” sources, even though they’re among the environmentally safest producers of energy. Even coal-burning plants are far cleaner today than 30 years ago with pollution reductions of 30, 40 and even 50 percent for lead, carbon monoxide, and smog.

The initiative would foolishly restrict Arizona’s natural gas use at a time when America is in the midst of the biggest shale gas boom in history. Natural gas prices have fallen over the past decade by 70 percent, thanks to domestic shale gas production. Conversion to natural gas is the reason the United States has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions more than virtually any other nation over the last decade.

Nuclear energy is even cleaner because it emits virtually zero air pollutants into the atmosphere. Why would a green mandate exclude nuclear and potentially force the closure of the Palo Verde plant employing hundreds of Arizonans?

Yes, sunny Arizona is an ideal state for solar power. As it gets cheaper, the state should use solar whenever it makes financial sense. But politicians shouldn’t force you to buy it regardless of cost. It doesn’t make sense to insert into the state Constitution a requirement on energy use that locks Arizona into 50 percent wind and solar. Betting the state’s financial future and job base on wind and solar power is a huge risk to Arizona’s economic health.

— Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and author of “Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy” (Regnery, 2015). His new study for the Goldwater Institute is: “Arizona’s ‘Clean Energy’ Initiative: All Pain, No Gain.”


The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.

Bipartisan support needed for U.S Mexico Canada Trade Agreement


I had the honor of attending the discussion at the White House on the U.S Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) recently. In attendance were Hispanic leaders from across the nation, and the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Martha Barcena. The focal point of the event was a panel discussion where the president of the United States Hispanic Chamber, Ramiro Cavazos, the president of the Latino Coalition, Hector Bareto Jr., and Mario Rodriguez representing the Hispanic 100 spoke about the negative impact that failing to pass the USMCA would have on their respective business members.

Lea Marquez Peterson
Lea Marquez Peterson

Attendees were overwhelmingly in support of the agreement and fully understood that more than 5 million jobs in the United States depended on trade between our three countries. The conversation was centered on what our next steps may be. Tim Pataki, the deputy assistant to the president, addressed the political reality and the need to ratify the agreement before Congress recessed this summer.

The conclusion was that it was time to look beyond partisan politics and to implore congressional members in every state to take action. The USMCA is the most advanced agreement in terms of manufacturing and labor rights, and passing it will help our three countries continue to build our global competitive region. Ambassador Barcena spoke passionately about focusing on the economic prosperity of our region when it passes and warned that if it were to fail – it would be the biggest setback for our three countries in decades.

Locally, we’ve heard the data. The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate Arizona had $20.4 billion in total trade with USMCA markets in 2018, and per the North American Research Partnership and the Crossborder Group there were an estimated 228,300 net jobs in Arizona that resulted from trade with Canada and Mexico in 2017. For Arizona, congressional support should be a foregone conclusion, but unfortunately it is not. Businesses on both sides of the border are fearful that the partisan debate on the agreement and the focus of “winning and losing” will derail all of the work done to build a new and improved trade agreement between Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

Support for the USMCA agreement is in the best interest of every person living in Arizona. For our families, our businesses and the economic prosperity of our state it is the right thing to do.  Congress – it’s time to act and to leave the partisan divide behind and support the U.S Mexico Canada agreement.

Lea Marquez Peterson owns Marquez Peterson Group, a public affairs firm. She is the former President of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber and serves on the national board of the United States Hispanic Chamber.  She recently ran for Congress in Arizona’s 2nd District. 

Candidates can start gathering signatures for state, federal office


Candidates for Congress and the state Legislature can now collect signatures for office using the current redistricting lines for the 2022 election 

Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday signed SB1107 into law, a bill from Republican Sen. J.D. Mesnard, which had an emergency clause attached, meaning it becomes law from the governor’s signature rather than on the state’s general effective date. Emergency Clause legislation requires two-thirds votes in both chambers; this bill passed through unanimously.  

Given the Census Bureau’s ongoing data delays, new maps with whatever the state’s 30 legislative districts and soon-to-be 10 Congressional districts look like is still unclear and won’t be known until the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission draws the new lines by January – the deadline for which IRC Chair Erika Neuberg said she was aiming. 

What this bill ultimately means is someone like Sen. Kirsten Engel, D-Tucson or Rep. Walter Blackman, R-Snowflake can collect signatures in their current congressional districts of two and one, respectively even though their residences might be drawn into completely different districts come next year.  

The Census data is now expected to arrive in August after being pushed back as far as September. Several candidates have already begun to file statements of interest – like Engel and Blackman – for congressional races as well as many who want to run for one of 90 open seats at the Arizona Legislature. They now can theoretically begin collecting those signatures from registered voters in those current districts starting today.  

A committee amendment was added to the bill to declare that County Boards of Supervisors – who also go through their own redistricting process, albeit not from the IRC – must determine their own lines by July 1, 2022. County supervisor seats are not on the ballot during the midterm elections, rather every four years that coincide with a presidential election. The bill gave the counties a seven-month extension.  

Census data for redistricting, apportionment delayed


The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission won’t be able to draw new boundaries for congressional and legislative districts until the summer at the earliest due to a delay of the U.S. Census data.

The new goal for finishing data processing for the apportionment numbers is now April 30, said Kathleen Styles, a top bureau official. It was previously expected at the end of February.

The deadline for turning in the apportionment numbers has been a moving target since the pandemic upended the Census Bureau’s once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident. The numbers were supposed to be turned in at the end of last year, but the Census Bureau requested a delay to the end of April after the virus outbreak caused the bureau to suspend operations.

The deadline switched back to December 31 after President Donald Trump issued a directive to exclude people in the U.S. illegally from the numbers used for divvying up congressional seats.

President Joe Biden rescinded that order on his first day taking office last week. Government attorneys most recently had said that the numbers wouldn’t be ready until early March because the Census Bureau needed to fix data irregularities.

The Trump-appointed director of the Census Bureau also recently resigned roughly a year before his term was set to expire over a whistleblower complaint alleging he tried to rush out an incomplete data report about noncitizens.

The IRC is scheduled to meet on February 2 to go over key hires the commission must make such as an executive director, mapping consultants and legal counsels.

Doug Cole, the COO of Highground Public Affair, said the commission’s focus will now have more time to complete these tasks as is required by law.

They will hire an executive director and work with the Arizona Department of Administration on procuring office space and other tasks involved with setting up an agency, Cole said.

“They can also start putting together requests for proposals – RFPs – for vendors,” he said, adding that everything in the process can be pretty time consuming. The vendors would be employed as mapping consultants and two legal teams would be brought on, one representing Democrats and the other Republicans.

This IRC was already working far ahead of schedule than the last run a decade ago, a lot having to do with the quick appointment process of the four partisan picks, which was completed late last year.

It’s unclear how much the Census delay will affect statutory and constitutional deadlines, but it’s likely to be addressed when the IRC meets next week.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. 

Correction: The opening sentence of a previous version of this story erroneously stated that census data to be used for drawing congressional and legislative boundaries and apportionment wouldn’t be available until April 30. The data for congressional and legislative district boundaries won’t be available until the summer of 2021 while the data for apportionment will be available on April 30. 

Census reports overcount of Asians was highest

Jennifer Chau, director of the Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander For Equity Coalition, at her office Friday, April 8, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Jennifer Chau was astonished last month when the U.S. Census Bureau’s report card on how accurately it counted the U.S. population in 2020 showed that Asian people were overcounted by the highest rate of any race or ethnic group.

The director of an Asian American advocacy group thought thousands of people would be missed — outreach activities had been scratched by the coronavirus pandemic, and she and her staff feared widespread language barriers and wariness of sharing information with the government could hinder participation. They also thought recent attacks against Asian Americans could stir up fears within the Asian population, the fastest-growing race or ethnic group in the U.S.

“I’m honestly shocked,” said Chau, director of the Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander For Equity Coalition.

But Chau and other advocates and academics also believe the overcounting of the Asian population by 2.6% in the once-a-decade U.S. head count may not be all that it seems on the surface. They say it likely masks great variation in who was counted among different Asian communities in the U.S. They also said it could signal that biracial and multiracial residents identified as Asian in larger numbers than in the past.

The specifics are difficult to determine because all Asian communities are grouped together under the same race category in the census. This conceals the wide variety of income, education and health backgrounds between subgroups and tends to blur characteristics unique to certain communities, some advocates said. It may also perpetuate the “model minority” myth of Asians being affluent and well-educated.

“Asian Americans have the largest income inequality than any other racial groups in the U.S. and the overall overcount likely masks the experiences of Asian ethnic groups who were more vulnerable to being undercounted,” said Aggie Yellow Horse, an assistant professor of Asian Pacific American Studies at Arizona State University.

Almost four dozen U.S. House members this month asked the Census Bureau to break down the accuracy of the count of Asian residents by subgroups. Asians in the U.S. trace their roots to more than 20 countries, with China and India having the largest representation. But the bureau has no plans to do so, at least not in the immediate future.

“To really see how the Asian American community fared, you need lower-level geography to understand if there was an undercount or if certain communities fared better than others,” said Terry Ao Minnis, senior director of census and voting programs at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC.

Overcounts and undercounts

Asians were overcounted by a higher rate than any other group. White residents were overcounted by 0.6%, and white residents who aren’t Hispanic were overcounted by 1.6%. The Black population was undercounted by 3.3%, those who identified as some other race had a 4.3% undercount, almost 5% of the Hispanic population was missed and more than 5.6% of American Indians living on reservations were undercounted.

Civil rights leaders blamed the undercounts on hurdles created by the pandemic and political interference by then-President Donald Trump’s administration, which tried unsuccessfully to add a citizenship question to the census form and cut field operations short.

The census is not only used for determining how many congressional seats each state gets and for redrawing political districts; it helps determine how $1.5 trillion a year in federal funding is allocated. Overcounts, which are revealed through a survey the bureau conducts apart from the census, occur when people are counted twice, such as college students being counted on campus and at their parents’ homes.

Identity choice

In the 2020 census, 19.9 million residents identified as “Asian alone,” a 35% increase from 2010. An additional 4.1 million residents identified as Asian in combination with another race group, a 55% jump from 2010. Asians now make up more than 7% of the U.S. population.

Some of the growth by Asians in the 2020 census may be rooted in the fluidity of how some people, particularly those who are biracial or multiracial, report their identity on the census form, said Paul Ong, a professor emeritus of urban planning and Asian American Studies at UCLA.

“People change their identity from one survey to another, and this is much more prevalent among those who are multiracial or biracial,” Ong said.

Lan Hoang, a Vietnamese American woman who works at the same coalition as Chau, listed her three young children as Asian, and white and Hispanic to represent her husband’s background. She used the census as an opportunity to talk to them about the importance of identity, even reading them a kids’ book about the head count.

“It talks about how important it is that you let others know that you’re here, this is who you represent,” Hoang said. “When I filled out (the form), they were totally surprised. … ‘Yeah, you’re three different things in one. You’re special.'”

Conversations about declaring one’s Asian background are especially meaningful given the anti-Asian hate brought on by the pandemic, Hoang added. Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were fatally shot last year at Georgia massage businesses, and thousands more attacks against Asians have happened across the U.S. since 2020.

Such factors may have led some multiracial people who ordinarily would have indicated on the census form that they were white, Black or some other race to instead select Asian, Ong said.

“When that happens, people who are multiracial go in two directions: They reject their minority identity or they embrace it,” Ong said. “With the rise of anti-Asian hostility, it forced some multiracial Asians to select a single identity.”

Another factor that may have contributed to the Asian overcount is the fact that young adult Asians were more likely to be in college than other racial or ethnic groups: 58% compared to 42% or less for young adults of other race or ethnic backgrounds. That may have led them to be counted twice, on campuses and at their parents’ homes, where they went after colleges and universities closed because of the pandemic.

UCLA junior Lauren Chen spent most of her freshman year back home in Mesa in 2020. Her father included Chen on the household census form even though Census Bureau rules said she should have been counted at school. Chen has no idea if she was counted twice.

“UCLA was pretty swamped with trying to figure out how to get people their belongings. … It was a very messy moment and I don’t think I knew anyone that got mail or anything like that,” Chen said. “(The census) is definitely something that I paid attention to, especially with the way that my Dad focused on it.”

Census says no more seats in Congress for Arizona


Arizona is not going to get more representation in Washington.

And one political demographer said it may be because some Hispanics chose not to respond to the decennial survey.

The Census Bureau announced Monday that Arizona had not gained enough population in the past decade, at least not in the official count, to merit another congressional seat. That keeps it at nine members of the U.S. House.

This is the first time since the 1960 census that Arizona has not picked up a seat.

According to the announced tally, Arizona added 746,223 new residents between April 1, 2010 and the same time a decade later, bringing the tally to nearly 7.16 million. That amounted to an 11.6% growth rate.

By contrast, the country as a whole grew just 7.1%.

But other states grew faster. And given how the congressional seats are allocated, Arizona just didn’t add enough population to merit that tenth seat.

And here’s the thing: Arizona wasn’t even close to getting one of the seats given up by other states with lagging population growth.

The Census Bureau reports that New York was the first state to fall off the bottom as it divided up the 435 seats that were available. Had census workers found an additional 89 people in the Empire State it would not have lost a seat to somewhere else.

Next in line for those available seats was Ohio which fell short and also lost a seat.

In fact, both Texas and Florida with their growth rates were closer to picking up additional seats — Texas already is getting two and Florida getting one — before Arizona would have been in line for No. 10.

The results were surprising given the general consensus in the political community as well as experts like Election Data Services that Arizona would be seating an additional member of Congress.

Political consultant Chuck Coughlin called the findings “shocking.” He was not alone.

“It’s hard to believe, with all of our incoming population — and with states like California losing a seat for the first time in state history — that we’re not getting one,” said consultant Stan Barnes.

But Kimball Brace, president of Election Data Services said he sees a common thread.

He said not only was Arizona predicted to gain a seat based on annual population estimates but that Texas was due to pick up three new seats and two in Florida.

“What do all those states have in common?” Brace asked before answering his own question: large Hispanic populations. And that, he said, is no accident.

The key, Brace said, was the effort by the Trump administration to add a citizenship question to the survey.

“It caused people to not respond to the census,” he said. “And, as a result, they were all lower than what they were anticipating.”

Brace said it’s irrelevant that Trump failed to get that question on the form.

“If you got all of those press reports and commentary and everything else talking about how much Trump doesn’t want people to respond if they’re Hispanic, you don’t necessarily have to have a question on the survey,” he said.

It wasn’t just Trump pushing the question.

Gov. Doug Ducey told Capitol Media Services two years ago he was siding with the administration, even as he was asked whether that could lose the state a new congressional seat.

“There’s a number of different questions the federal government chooses to ask,” he said. “I think to get a handle on who’s here, who’s a citizen and who’s not is a fair question.”

There was no immediate response from Ducey who put $1.8 million into a campaign in a bid to boost the state’s response rate.

Instead, an aide to Ducey directed reporters to a prepared statement from AZ Census 2020, the state’s official effort to get a complete count.

“While we’re disappointed Arizona didn’t receive an additional congressional seat, we want to recognize last year’s historic effort,” the organization said in a prepared statement on Twitter. That included what the group said was a statewide campaign to reach underrepresented communities,” with the state having its highest self-response rate to the count in decades.

Coughlin said there will be losers in all this. And it starts with rural Arizona.

It will be months before the Census Bureau releases more detailed data for each state. But annual statistics collected by the state show that the largest population growth has been in central Arizona, meaning Maricopa and Pinal counties.

Now the existing nine districts need to be redrawn to put about 795,500 individuals in each district. What that will mean is that to get sufficient residents to create a rural district — where the population growth is the slowest — the geographic size of that district or districts will have to be even larger.

Put another way, residents of Sierra Vista could soon find themselves sharing a representative with residents as far away as the Grand Canyon.

Coughlin also said the status quo could help Democrats.

With a 10th seat, he said, there would be a chance for Republicans, who now have just four of the state’s nine House members, to push for some major revisions that might give them a better chance. But with the status quo, Coughlin said that will lead to pressure to simply start with the current lines — the ones that give the Democrats that 5-4 edge — and just make minor revisions.

But Barnes said he’s not sure any of this helps either party.

“Both parties wanted that tenth seat,” he said.

“Both parties thought they could have that tenth seat” with new lines, Barnes said. “And now no one gets to play.”

Then there’s the human equation.

There are state legislators who were hoping that a new seat, plus radically redrawn lines, might create a political opportunity for them. They now have to reevaluate their own futures.

And if they stay put, then that does not open up their own seats for others hoping to become state lawmakers.

Still, things will change because of that constitutional requirement for congressional districts of roughly equal population. But that, too, is not a simple matter of finding 795,000 people in the same area and declare it a congressional district.

Prior to 2000 it was up to the legislature to draw the decennial lines both for their own districts and the seats in the U.S. House. That usually resulted in districts that favored the party in power.

That year voters wrested away that power, creating the Independent Redistricting Commission. It includes two people each appointed by party leaders; those four choose a fifth political independent to serve as chair.

That 2020 initiative specifically sets some limits and guidelines on the commission’s decisions.

For example, they are supposed to respect communities of interest and use political boundaries when possible.

Commissioners also are required to create as many politically competitive districts as possible. And that could create a mandate to take what have proven to be “safe” districts, like those occupied by Republican Andy Biggs and Democrat Raul Grijalva, and find ways to try to even them up by party registration.

Arizona’s congressional delegation:

1912 (statehood) to 1943 — 1

1943 to 1962 — 2

1962 to 1973 — 3

1973 to 1983 — 4

1983 to 1993 — 5

1993 to 2003 — 6

2003 to 2013 — 8

2013 to 2033 — 9

Ducey wants immigration question in next census

 In this May 8, 2018, file photo, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks during an interview in his office at the Arizona Capitol. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks during an interview in his office at the Arizona Capitol. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Gov. Doug Ducey is siding with the Trump administration in its bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census despite concerns by some that it will cause an undercount that could cost the state millions – and maybe a congressional seat.

“I want to see everyone counted,” the governor said Monday on the heels of issuing an executive order to educate Arizonans about why the decennial exercise is important. And Ducey’s order said each person counted translates into $887 annually in federal dollars.

But Ducey said he sides with Trump, who wants the Census Bureau to add back the question that hasn’t been asked in decades, rather than the 18 states, 10 cities and four counties that have sued amid concerns that the query will result in some households with residents who are not citizens choosing not to answer. And in Arizona there are an estimated 275,000 undocumented residents.

Ducey told Capitol Media Services he does not see a problem.

“There’s a number of different questions the federal government chooses to ask,” the governor said.

“I think they get a handle of who’s here, who’s a citizen and who’s not is a fair question.”

Ducey’s position comes despite a ruling by a federal judge in January who struck down the plan by the Census Bureau to add the question. Judge Jesse Furman said that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross exceeded his legal authority when he made the decision.

Of note is that Furman said the question would result in an undercount of immigrants that would pretty much guarantee that California would lose a congressional seat.

But the judge also said that Arizona – along with Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois – would face “a substantial risk of losing a seat.” And Arizona, which currently has nine seats in the House, was hoping for at least a tenth after the count.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review Furman’s ruling, with a ruling in June to give the Census Bureau the time to figure out which version of the questionnaire to print.

Central to the legal – and political – fight is a constitutional mandate which requires an “actual enumeration” of residents once a decade.

That most immediately governs which states gain and which states lose as representation in the 435-member House of Representatives is determined. That number also governs how many Electoral College votes each state gets.

Then there’s the division of federal dollars for schools, roads and other services.

In issuing the executive order Monday, Ducey said he wants an accurate count to ensure Arizona gets its fair share. He figures that a 1 percent undercount – about 70,000 given the current population – would deny the state $62 million a year, not just starting in 2021 but for the entire decade.

So Ducey formed a 19-member panel “to ensure widespread public awareness” of the importance of the decennial count. And that includes developing “targeted plans” aimed at groups that have historically been undercounted in the past.

In adding the question, Ross argued that the request came from the Justice Department which wants the information to help enforce the Voting Rights Act. Furman, in his 277-page ruling, said he wasn’t buying that, saying Ross and aides sought the question for other reasons and then “acted like people with something to hide.”

Trump, who has made issues related to illegal immigration a cornerstone of his administration, lashed out again Monday at those trying to kill the question.

“Can you believe that the Radical Left Democrats want to do our new and very important Census Report without the all important Citizenship Question,” the president said in a Twitter post. He said without that question the report “would be meaningless and a waste of the $Billions (ridiculous) that it costs to put together!”

The question was last asked in the 1950 census. But it is part of the American Community Survey, an annual sample conducted by the Census Bureau.

Last call for the count – get engaged in the 2020 Census


The 2020 Census is happening now and with the count ending in a matter of weeks, we’re encouraging every Arizonan to be part of our complete count.

Debbie Johnson
Debbie Johnson

We have different backgrounds and different personal priorities, but we share an appreciation for the enormous impact the 2020 Census will have on our state, our local communities and our families. Funding for K-12 and college students. Health care for aging relatives. Transportation and connectivity infrastructure. Support for Arizona’s workforce. Affordable housing and child care for those in need. Even Arizona’s recovery efforts from the Coronavirus pandemic. All of this and more will be impacted by the outcome of this year’s census.

The bottom line is every Arizonan benefits from a complete count and every Arizonan will feel the negative impacts of an undercount in the 2020 Census. This isn’t only a decennial tradition required by our Constitution, it’s a fundamental part of American democracy and our guiding tool for fair distribution of funding and equal political representation. The census matters!

Still not convinced? Consider:

  • $675 billion in federal funding is distributed annually to individual states based on the census.
  • $3,000 per person is gained (or lost) annually in Arizona based on the census response.
  • A 1% undercount could result in a loss of $60 million annually and $600 million over the next decade!
  • Local communities feel the impact too, as census data helps guide the distribution of federal funding and state-shared revenues to counties, cities and towns.
Alec Esteban Thomson (Photo by Mark Skalny)
Alec Esteban Thomson (Photo by Mark Skalny)

But this is about more than money. Arizona’s political representation for the next ten years will be determined by the 2020 Census. In 2010, we gained Arizona’s ninth congressional seat and we’re positioned to gain a 10th in 2020 if we get a complete count. That means a stronger voice for Arizona in Washington.

The political impact is also local – 2020 Census data will determine the boundaries for congressional, state legislative and local political districts. It’s crucial that Arizona’s population and demographics are accurately represented in next year’s redistricting process.

Here’s the challenge: Arizona’s diverse and spread-out population traditionally poses challenges for the decennial census. Add in a global pandemic that impacts operations and outreach efforts and we face even more of a challenge.

This is OUR census and every household counted makes a difference. It is going to take every community, every family, to step up and get involved. Get engaged now. Be sure to do the census yourself and help us promote census participation through every channel you have access to and take time to talk to family, friends, colleagues and neighbors about the census and why it matters.

Some of us just need a push from a trusted voice to be counted. This is our push for you to get involved and be counted, Arizona!

Debbie Johnson is chair of the Arizona Complete Count Committee and Alec Esteban Thomson is executive director of the Arizona Complete Count Committee.


Latino city in Arizona grew, but census says it shrank

Middle school wrestlers are greeted by coach Chris Polanco, right, as they enter the gym for wrestling matches at Somerton Middle School Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Somerton, Ariz. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Middle school wrestlers are greeted by coach Chris Polanco, right, as they enter the gym for wrestling matches at Somerton Middle School Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Somerton, Ariz. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

It’s a Thursday evening in Somerton, Arizona, and parents and students packed inside a middle school gym are roaring for the school’s wrestling team at decibels that test the eardrum. 

The young wrestlers are seventh and eighth graders who will be among the first to attend this town’s first public high school, which was approved just weeks ago after years of lobbying by local officials. The overwhelmingly Hispanic community has grown enough over the last decade that it’s also building a new elementary school. 

But the Census Bureau says Somerton actually lost 90 residents during that time, putting its official population at 14,197 people, not the 20,000 that the mayor expected. 

“So we’re trying to make sense of where these numbers are coming from, because they do not make sense whatsoever,” said City Manager Jerry Cabrera, who cited 853 new homes over the past decade as evidence of growth. 

An accurate census is crucial for the distribution of hundreds of billions of federal dollars, and it determines how many congressional seats each state gets. But a review by The Associated Press found that in many places, the share of the Hispanic and Black populations in the latest census figures fell below recent estimates and an annual Census Bureau survey, suggesting that some areas were overlooked. 

For the share of the Black population, the trend was most visible in southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, including Alabama, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. For the Hispanic population, it was most noticeable in New Mexico and Arizona. 

In Somerton, about 200 miles southwest of Phoenix near the Mexico border, community leaders were incredulous. 

“This is not true. This is not real numbers, you know. They don’t know our community. They did not do what needed to be done to count our people, and it’s just ridiculous. It can’t be,” said Emma Torres, executive director of Campesinos Sin Fronteras, an organization that advocates for farmworkers. The group was heavily involved in promoting the census. 

Most Somerton residents use post office boxes. A majority are Spanish-speaking farmworkers, and many lack reliable internet access. 

Electricians install wires at a newly constructed home Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Somerton, Ariz. The overwhelmingly Hispanic community has grown enough over the last decade that it's also building a new elementary school. But the Census Bureau says Somerton actually lost 90 residents during the that time, putting its official population at 14,197 people, not the 20,000 that the mayor expected. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Electricians install wires at a newly constructed home Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Somerton, Ariz. The overwhelmingly Hispanic community has grown enough over the last decade that it’s also building a new elementary school. But the Census Bureau says Somerton actually lost 90 residents during the that time, putting its official population at 14,197 people, not the 20,000 that the mayor expected. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Community leaders say they are used to an undercount, but the notion that they lost residents is unfathomable. 

Here, where an annual tamale festival to raise money for college students attracts thousands of visitors, local schools are over capacity as enrollment grew by nearly 12% from 2010 to 2019. And after years of having to bus students at least 10 miles north to Yuma, Somerton finally met the threshold for its own high school. 

While there is nothing new about undercounts, and no census is perfect, there is “strong evidence” that undercounts in the 2020 census are worse than in past decades, said Paul Ong, a public affairs professor at UCLA, whose own analysis of Los Angeles County this month concluded that Hispanics, Asians and other residents were undercounted. 

“The big-picture implication is it will skew the redistricting process, our undercounted neighborhoods will be underrepresented and populations that are undercounted will be shortchanged when it comes to the allocation of federal spending,” Ong said. 

The AP analysis comes with caveats. The Census Bureau says the census figures should be considered more accurate than the agency’s American Community Survey or vintage population estimates. Additionally, the American Community Survey has margins of error, and the population estimates are edited in a way that pushes some people who identified as “some other race” in the 2010 count into more traditional racial categories such as white, Black and Asian. 

People chat in a bar Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Somerton, Ariz. The results of the 2020 headcount have many Latino and Black communities concerned about whether the latest numbers are accurate. In Somerton, a small city near the U.S.-Mexico border that is overwhelmingly Hispanic, leaders say the results make no sense. They've seen new housing developments pop up, and the town is building two new schools. But the census found fewer residents than in 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
People chat in a bar Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Somerton, Ariz. The results of the 2020 headcount have many Latino and Black communities concerned about whether the latest numbers are accurate. In Somerton, a small city near the U.S.-Mexico border that is overwhelmingly Hispanic, leaders say the results make no sense. They’ve seen new housing developments pop up, and the town is building two new schools. But the census found fewer residents than in 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Bureau officials say it’s too soon to speculate on whether individual communities were undercounted. The full extent of whether the statistical agency missed certain populations, or overcounted others, won’t be known until early next year, when it releases results of a survey used to measure how good a job it did counting every U.S. resident. 

Black and Hispanic communities historically are undercounted, and there was greater concern about an undercount in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, which made people afraid to interact with strangers, and natural disasters, which made it difficult for census takers to reach some residents. There were also attempts at political interference by the Trump administration, including a failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the census form. 

The AP review revealed figures that suggest some communities were overlooked. 

Outside Baton Rouge, in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, for instance, the 2020 census figures show the share of the Black population to be 23.4%, but 2020 population estimates and the 2019 American Community Survey placed it at 44%. The area is home to the 5,500-inmate Louisiana State Penitentiary, and group housing like prisons, dorms and nursing homes were among the toughest places to count people during the census because of Covid-related restrictions. 

In counties along the Colorado and New Mexico border, the share of the Hispanic population in the census was lower than those in the estimates and survey, anywhere from 4 to 7 percentage points. 

The Census Bureau said in a statement that tribal, state and local governments can ask for a review of the numbers if they think they census figures are inaccurate, but that will not change the numbers used for redistricting or congressional seats. 

“Despite facing a pandemic, natural disasters and other unforeseen challenges, the 2020 census results thus far are in line with overall benchmarks,” the statement said. 

Cabrera said the city is pulling data to show that the 2020 count was off and plans to appeal. 

Somerton Mayor Gerardo Anaya worries about the city’s share of state revenues. He says Somerton’s sales tax revenue, school enrollment and building permits have gone up in the past few years. Developers continue to build. 

As it did in many Latino communities, the pandemic had an outsized effect in Somerton. Latinos were almost twice as likely to become infected and more than twice as likely to die from Covid than whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In Somerton, few people have jobs they can do from home. Anaya says there was a point last summer when the Somerton zip code had the highest infection rate in Arizona. 

“This time it was just chaotic here during the summer. We all had family members that were in the hospital or dying or infected with Covid. So it was very scary,” Anaya said. 

Back at the home of the Somerton Middle School Cobras, Principal Jose Moreno bragged about his city’s tight-knit community, where wrestling is a source of pride. Moreno paced around the gym and joined the cheering as the young boys battled the San Luis Scorpions. 

Moreno said finally meeting the threshold for a high school means local educators get to keep working with kids they have taught from kindergarten through eighth grade. 

“I accept the challenge, I really do, in trying to continue the traditions that we have here at the middle school, in the city, in the things we value. And so you have that small-time feeling here, and you know we definitely want to keep that going,” Moreno said. 

As for the match, the Cobras gave the Scorpions a whupping, beating them 90 to 6. 



Making competitive political districts ‘complicated’

redistricting map arizona620

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will as soon as August 10 decide the metrics it will use to determine “competitiveness” of the new congressional and legislative districts. 

The IRC’s mapping firm asked that the commission choose its metrics or at least give initial direction ahead of the anticipated drop of U.S. Census data on August 16. Consultant Doug Johnson with National Demographics Corporation told commissioners on August 3 that some guidance would be important because political parties and outside groups will run the numbers as soon as they have them. 

Competitiveness is one of six goals for redistricting outlined by the Arizona Constitution. The others are complying with the state and U.S. constitutions and Voting Rights Act, having equal population, making districts geographically compact and contiguous, respecting communities of interest and following geographic features, political boundaries and census tracts in drawing the lines.  

In redrawing the maps every ten years, the commission is tasked with favoring competitiveness when there’s “no significant detriment to the other goals.”  

Competitive districts are relatively balanced in terms of partisanship, and the commission is supposed to try to avoid, when possible, districts that are a sure bet for one party.  

There are hundreds of ways to measure competitiveness, Republican counsel Eric Spencer told the commission on June 29. The commission can decide which to employ, because the state Supreme Court has said it’s outside the scope of judicial review. 

“Let a thousand flowers bloom,” said Spencer, with law firm Snell & Wilmer. 

Competitiveness is “necessary but conditional,” he added, because while the commission can play around with the other criteria while drafting districts, it can’t do the same with competitiveness. 

“You have to try to make it more competitive if you can do it and it won’t significantly affect the other criteria,” Spencer said.  

Some commission watchers are leery of the IRC overemphasizing competitiveness and say weighting the factor too heavily was a problem with the last commission, which they saw as disproportionately benefiting Democrats. Suggested testimony for public input from Fair Maps Arizona, which was founded by Republican Steve Gaynor, gives an example. 

“The districts the previous commission drew were not compact, did not have equal population, and were too focused on competitiveness,” the suggested language reads. “I do not want that to happen to us again. Please follow the Arizona Constitution when you are drawing districts this time.” 

Princeton Gerrymandering Project Director Samuel Wang told the commissioners that competitiveness can work as a “shield” for them as they get into the more contentious part of the redistricting process and have to present maps to the public. 

“While I’ve not walked in your shoes, I think that competition is a key piece of carrying out your duties in a way that’s going to make your life relatively free of people driving by your house and whatever horrible things are going to be happening,” Wang said.  

Over the past couple months, Wang and other experts have presented different factors to consider when measuring competitiveness.  

Eric McGhee with Public Policy Institute of California and Plan Score told commissioners that one of the best ways to measure competitiveness is to come up with an expected vote by taking past votes for statewide offices and re-aggregating them in the new districts once they’re drawn. 

“Take those past outcomes and then translate those into predicted party performance based on how those things have related to each other in the past,” McGhee said. “This is not a perfect method, but it requires, in my view, the fewest assumptions and it’s the most data-driven.”  

McGhee and others warned against weighing political party registration too heavily, noting that many people who are registered as Independents aren’t usually classic swing voters and that party considerations drive outcomes more than they used to. 

“The reality is, there’s lots and lots of research that shows that independents are usually closet partisans,” McGhee said. 

Wang said that because independents and non-affiliated voters tend to have preferences on how they vote, it’s easier to take data analytics to predict within a few points of how a district will turn out. 

Instead of looking at people by party, it’s better to look at votes cast over time, said Moon Duchin, director of Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group Redistricting Lab at Tisch College of Tufts University. 

Duchin said voters may vote different ways at different times. She emphasized the importance of looking at more than the last couple elections to get a true sense of patterns of interest. 

“Over the span of a whole cycle, you’ll see enough variety that some of those idiosyncrasies come out in the wash,” Duchin said. 

Duchin said the commission can use factors like primaries and campaign spending to build a predictive voting index, but that bringing all that it can create “gobbledygook problems” because the more “stewing together that you try to do to build one composite, the harder it is to explain what you’ve done.” She said there was more payoff in looking at the votes as they were cast. 

“I’m advocating for simplicity, partly because you’re going to need to explain it publicly, and really, because I also think it gives you better results,” she said. 

While the IRC will discuss how to meet its other requirements, the mapping consultants said more time is being spent on competitiveness because of its complexity. 

“Competitiveness seems simple when you first hear about it, but in reality, measuring and implementing that plan is very, very, very complicated,” consultant Johnson said on July 20.  


Mapping commission struggles to gain momentum

The theme of the 2021 Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is delay, as commissioners opted to push every meaningful agenda item back an additional week after the U.S. Census Bureau data was already delayed until the end of September. 

After one week off, the IRC met to originally address the data delay and come up with a set of questions for the 42 people who applied to be the executive director, but not all of the commissioners were able to thoroughly look over all applications before the meeting so they will spend the next week doing so.

Next week’s meeting, which will commence on March 9 at noon, will have the commissioners come up with a set of questions and begin the process to narrow down applicants.

Chairwoman Erika Neuberg said she narrowed down her favorites to a list of five, but didn’t provide the names of her frontrunners, nor the names of those who applied. Commissioners never established if they would limit to just five finalists, though, and said they are open to expanding an eventual list.

Neuberg tried to put a positive spin on the Census delay, saying commissioners can spend more time to meet with the public across the state. Commissioners can also use preliminary data from 2018 census projections to plan ahead for mapping purposes until they receive the necessary information in September.

The Commission also voted to delay finding a legal consultant until March 19 and a mapping consultant until March 26. Since its previous meeting on Feb. 16, the commission set up a new website, and noted that the open meeting complaint against the commission has been passed from the Attorney General’s Office to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office due to conflicts.

Pandemic magnifies importance of accurate census count


When the Maricopa Association of Governments and its 27-member jurisdictions began planning for the 2020 Census more than 18 months ago, we knew focusing on how census data impacts federal funding for local communities would be central to encouraging participation. We never could have envisioned that the 2020 Census would occur at the same time as an unimaginable public health and economic crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our outreach plans, but also simultaneously magnified the importance of getting an accurate count since population numbers are used to calculate the distribution of billions of federal dollars to respond to and recover from this national crisis.

Data from the 2010 Census was fundamental in the calculations used to distribute dollars to local governments as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, to help lessen the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local governments are putting these funds to work in many ways across the Maricopa County region by supporting health care services, public safety measures, and much-needed economic relief for residents and businesses.

Population data and demographic information supplied by the census is also key in the distribution of billions of federal dollars to support education. These funds will help our schools prepare for the challenge of educating our students safely and effectively in the upcoming school year.

While the disruptions caused by COVID-19 have far reaching impacts in every city, county, and state government, the focus on the 2020 Census has been unwavering because we understand there is too much at stake. What we do now in the 2020 Census will have a long-lasting impact on resources for continued recovery and on federal funding over the next decade. This is why our members began quickly innovating with ways to keep the 2020 Census relevant in their communities when daily routines were thoroughly disrupted.

Jerry Weiers
Jerry Weiers

Thankfully, iCount2020 — MAG’s 2020 Census public awareness campaign — was prepared for ‘contactless’ outreach and education. The campaign’s text messages and personal emails connect with people one-on-one in either English or Spanish.

Social media is an even more active online community and www.iCount2020.info capitalizes by providing a one-stop for 2020 Census information. The campaign, which was produced locally by MAG featuring real stories of a diverse group of people from across the Maricopa region, remains prominent on television, online and on radio in English and Spanish. And individual jurisdictions throughout the region continue to amplify these messages through their own websites, social media accounts, utility bills, newsletters, contests, and collaboration with nonprofit and faith-based partners.

The first-ever ability to complete the census online was critical as people began spending more time at home and online. Filling out the form safely and securely from home became a vitally relevant message. It has truly never been easier to respond to the census on your own without interacting with a census taker, however, the Census Bureau will start in-person follow up for households that haven’t yet responded.

During these uncertain times, we know that one sure way to help your community is to fill out the 2020 Census. Now more than ever, it is crucial that every person is counted in the census as they represent approximately $3,000 in funding annually for vital community programs including education, public safety, health care, housing, senior services, transportation and more.

Make no mistake, losing sight of the 2020 Census means losing sight of the future. Ten years ago, we could not have envisioned that the accuracy of our 2010 Census count would impact the resources that our communities and state would receive to combat and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now each of us has the chance to ensure our community gets the resources we need to come out of this stronger and better prepared to address future challenges.

Go online now to iCount2020.info or call 1-844-330-2020 to fill out your census form. Learn more at www.icount2020.info or connect with us using @icount2020official on Instagram and Facebook, or @icount2020 on Twitter.

Jerry P. Weiers is mayor of Glendale and the chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments, which represents 27 cities and towns, Native nations, Maricopa County and portions of Pinal County.