Why you should care about the U.S. Census

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The U.S. Census is a count of the population that helps determine congressional and funding allocations from the government. (Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo)

Every 10 years, the Constitution requires a count of the population known as the census. This count helps determine many facets of the government, like how many seats each state gets in Congress and how federal funding is distributed.

For the 2020 Census, the Trump administration has vowed to add a question about citizenship status, a move that has received criticism from Democrats and immigration supporters.

The Commerce Department has said they are seeking "complete and accurate information." Critics argue the move will intimidate immigrants and discourage participation.

Along with determining government funding and congressional allocations, the census also helps communities determine where to build schools, grocery stores and hospitals. An inaccurate population count can prevent communities from receiving proper representation or funding.

Census counts are taken by mail or by workers walking neighborhoods. According to the Commerce Department, about 74 percent of households used mail for the 2010 census.

This would be the first time a citizenship question has been in the census since 1950. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its decision to ask about citizenship status in the 2020 census.
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politicsPresident Donald Trumpcensusgovernmentcongresscalifornia