The importance of an accessible census


Written By Lauren Ortego, Co-Opinions Editor

As our country has made great technological advances, we have grown lazier. I know, that’s a sentiment usually shared by old people who want you go to “play outside” or “join a gang” like they did when they were kids instead of sitting around throwing tweets at people on face-stagram.

But it’s true.

Not in an inherently evil way – I don’t think technology has been the downfall of this country and I know millennials are hard workers when they need and want to be, but as more has become available to us at the click of a button or touch of a screen, we’ve become apathetic to anything that takes longer than a solid 30 seconds.

Vine, the popular video-sharing app whose entire gimmick were six second long videos, thrived with young people, because our attention spans just aren’t what they used to be. And there are a plethora of reasons that studies have given for that.

The quick transitions in shows like Spongebob, (which we all watched at detrimental times in our mental growth) the growing advances in technology when we were kids, (we used floppy disks in elementary school and by middle school thumb drives were everywhere) and many more have littered the reasoning for millennials’ notoriously short attention spans.

Let’s apply that to surveys. Our very own university sends out surveys by the dozen at the end of the spring term. Your email is probably littered with them as we speak.

Have you done any of them?

I can safely assume that the answer is “no.” And that’s fine. I haven’t been hired by the university to yell at you or demand you take them.

But why haven’t you completed it? Arguably, it’s easily accessible versus the old paper and pen method. It’s right on your phone or laptop, something you most likely have on you at all times. They couldn’t have made it any easier to complete.

How much more likely are you to complete it if you knew it was the census, the survey that determines how many people are living in the U.S.?

The Trump administration, among other more xenophobic things, has suggested making the upcoming census electronic. There’s something demanding about a person with a clipboard showing up at your house and asking you seemingly intruding questions about you that an electronic version wouldn’t convey. 

I know it’s shocking in the world of technology we live today, but there are still people with no access to a computer or phone who would not be able to take it. Poor people, older people, people whose numbers in the census still matter.

Not only would an electronic census be bad for those without access, the Trump administration asked that the question of whether or not you’re a citizen be added.

Look, I know not a lot of people care about the census or even understand how it works, but these two suggestions Trump and his team have presented are both going to – not “might,” they’re going to – have a negative effect on who takes it and if they can even take it.

Illegal citizens still live in this country, whether you want them to or not, and the census isn’t for “citizens” in America, but the people who live here. They need to be counted for so that money for minority and poor areas can be allocated properly.

Trump has done many terrible things, from banning trans soldiers from the military to keeping the DACA children on their toes, so none of this is surprising.

But this? This is literally unconstitutional, the effects of which will be seen if any of it passes through. The census should be more accessible to everyone, not less.

Because we all live here, whether you want some of us to or not.