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Phoenix forms committee to raise awareness for 2020 census

(Flickr/U.S. Department of Agriculture)

PHOENIX — The next census count is less than two years away, but Phoenix city officials are already preparing for the big day.

Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams and the City Council formed the Phoenix 2020 Census Complete Count Committee on Wednesday.

The committee, according to city officials, is a “diverse group of community and industry leaders” who will lead a campaign that aims to make residents aware of the importance of completing the census.

“Census Day is April 1, 2020, but we must work diligently now to ensure a complete count of Phoenix’s growing and diverse population — having the community’s support and collaboration is critical in this mission,” Williams said in a statement.

“The broad range of individuals on this committee will be key in educating the public about the 2020 census to make sure everyone is counted.”

Thirty-four people had been appointed to the committee as of Thursday, but that number could increase as needed until April. The members have been split up into three subcommittees for media and technology, business and finance and equitable outreach.

City officials have been working to prepare for the census since August, when the City Council created the Census 2020 Ad Hoc Committee.

The federal government proposed earlier this year that it would add a question about U.S. citizenship to the 2020 census, causing Phoenix officials to worry.

City officials estimate that Phoenix receives about $530 in funding for each resident who is counted in the census, equating to approximately $866 million total.

But if every resident does not get counted, that could lead to millions of dollars in losses for the city.

City officials worry that programs such as Section 8 housing assistance, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid would be impacted if Phoenix loses that money.

“We’re concerned that if this question is added, we won’t have full participation in the census,” Phoenix mayoral candidate Kate Gallego told KTAR News 92.3 FM in August.

“People will be afraid to be counted.”

The U.S. census not only determines how to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds across the country, but also determines each state’s number of congressional seats.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report. 

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