Accurate Census can ensure ‘fair share’ of federal dollars
Stakeholders agree, the importance of a complete count for the census is crucial to the future of the Navajo Nation.
Because the population calculated in the census determines two things – money and power, says Arbin Mitchell, Census Bureau tribal partnership specialist who is heading up the Navajo Nation 2020 Census count.
Money, in terms of federal funding to be distributed for schools, roads, health facilities, economic development, emergency and social services, to name a few, and power, in terms of government representation, are all tied to the census count.
Delegate Edison Wauneka said that the estimated per capita allocation for every Navajo counted in the census is $4,000, so every person not counted has a quantifiable, direct negative impact.
“If only 10 people don’t get counted, that’s $40,000 that we lose,” he said. “If it’s 100, that’s $400,000.”
In other words, census results will influence many things in your community and a lot is at stake, such as how billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated to state and local governments, and how many seats in Congress the states will have.
“As Navajo, as big as we are, it’s very important that we count everybody,” said Mitchell. “$675 billion dollars are given out by the federal government each year and congressional districts are drawn up based on population. We need to get our fair share and equal representation.”