Note: This article first appeared on Los Angeleno and is shared with their permission in partnership with UncoverLA. You can subscribe for news and features from Los Angeleno here.
By Juliet Rylah
Today, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer announced a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its decision to reverse course and shorten the duration of the 2020 census. Feuer argues that the truncated timeframe will result in an undercount for not only Los Angeles but communities across the U.S. as well, which could have dire consequences in public funding and political representation that span a decade.
The census is meant to count the entire population of the United States. It also asks how many people live in each home and each person's gender, age, and race. These figures determine how federal funding is allotted toward states, counties, and communities. Think of your local schools, hospitals, roads, public transit, and other programs. The census count also helps businesses and developers determine where they might open new outposts or build new homes. It determines local redistricting efforts. Crucially, the census results will also determine how the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are divvied up among the states for the next 10 years. An accurate count is important.
Federal law would usually require that the Census Bureau report its findings to the president by Dec. 31. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed things for everyone, including the Census Bureau.