Filling out your census form isn’t just your civic duty to ensure Massachusetts has accurate representation in Congress and the Electoral College. Many local services and programs—which are much more likely to impact our everyday lives—are determined based on U.S. Census data.
Federal funding supports environmental programs through Water Pollution Control grants, Hazardous Waste Management State Program Support, the Wildlife Restoration Program, and Federal Transit – Capital Investment grants.
Additionally, Community Development Block Grants can be used for flooding and drainage improvements, among other projects. All of these grant programs rely on U.S. census data to determine funding eligibility.
In particular, accurate census data will support climate and environmental justice. How? Unequal protections and historically racist policies mean that people of color and low-income communities disproportionately are burdened by environmental inequity (for example, unequal access to open space, and clean air and water).
Moreover, people of color, people with disabilities, the elderly, non-English speakers, immigrants, and low-income populations have been historically undercounted in the census. It is therefore critical we get an accurate count—federal and state policymakers use census data to identify environmental justice communities and more equitably allocate funding and other supports accordingly. Advocates rely on the same data to fight unjust policies and projects.
An undercounted community may be underrepresented and underfunded. We need accurate data to ensure communities have access to the crucial funding they need to support healthy, safe, and accessible environmental resources and improve resiliency to climate change.
—Kerry Snyder, NepRWA Advocacy Director, August 2020