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Posted on: June 27, 2019

Complete Count Committee: SCOTUS Decision on 2020 Census a Step Forward

Red and green Loudoun County seal on a green background.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an opinion that blocks a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census questionnaire, which the Loudoun County Complete Count Committee (LC-CCC) had perceived as a barrier to its efforts to make sure that everyone living in Loudoun County is counted in next year’s census. 

“I am pleased with the high court’s decision – a census with no citizenship question continues a precedent set in 2010 and will make our residents more comfortable participating in the census,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis J. Randall, who is the chair of the Loudoun County Complete Count Committee. “It is so important that every Loudoun resident is counted so that their voice is heard and the community is represented.  The census affects the county in many ways, from the amount of federal funding we receive to how our legislative districts are determined.” 

The Supreme Court’s opinion does not fully resolve the issue, stating that the U.S. Department of Commerce did not adequately justify the inclusion of a question about immigration and ordered the case to be reconsidered by the lower court. 

“I recognize that this is not a done deal and that the process is continuing, but it is an important step forward,” said Randall.

The LC-CCC emphasizes that census responses are confidential. Federal law prohibits data collected in the census from being shared with other federal agencies. The committee is working to reach out to groups in Loudoun who have historically been undercounted or not responded, such as ethnic or minority populations, immigrants, renters and low-income households. Members of the committee represent diverse sectors of the community and include representatives of the Loudoun County government, education, business, community groups, faith-based organizations, homeowners associations and regional associations.

The Board of Supervisors established the local Complete Count Committee to raise awareness about the 2020 Census and to help increase the response rate to the census questionnaire. 

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for every Virginian who is not counted, the state/region loses $2,000 per year for 10 years, or $20,000 total, in federal assistance program allocations. Loudoun stands to benefit from more than $30 million in federal funding for education, healthcare and public safety programs over the next decade.

The U.S. Constitution requires that a census of the country’s population be taken every ten years. In 2020, the census will be conducted online and by phone as well as the traditional mail response. 

More information about the census and the Loudoun County Complete Count Committee is online at www.loudoun.gov/2020Census.

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