Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-New York, who represents the 6th District of Queens where a significant number of Indian-Americans live, says she is “shocked” that the U.S. Census Bureau has not included the South Asian community in its outreach plan for the 2020 Census.
In a July 1, letter to U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, Meng and 17 others lawmakers, have urged him to include the South Asian community in its 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign.
The media campaign is presently conducting outreach in English and numerous other languages including: Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese.
But the South Asian languages are noticeably absent, even though the population has grown in size from 3.5 million in 2010 to approximately 5.4 million today, Meng and others pointed out.
“With approximately 5.4 million South Asians currently living in the United States, an increase from the 3.5 million counted in the 2010 Census, it is imperative the Census Bureau takes the necessary steps to make sure the United States South Asian population is also accurately counted. These steps include targeting the South Asian audience in the 2020 Census Paid Campaign – as part of your broader media campaign for minority communities,” says the letter to Dillingham.
Among the 17 other lawmakers who signed on to the letter are Indian-American Rep. Ro Khanna, D-California, and Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Gregory Meeks, D-New York; Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Adam Smith, D-Washington.
“I’m shocked that the Census Bureau failed to include the South Asian community in its outreach leading up to the 2020 Decennial Census,” Rep. Meng is quoted saying in the press release, noting that many of these South Asians live in her Congressional district. “Director Dillingham must correct this error and immediately include the South Asian population. We have less than a year before the census begins on April 1, 2020,” Meng emphasized.
“Communities and neighborhoods across the nation have a lot to lose if we fail to engage the South Asian community in our census outreach,” Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, is quoted saying in the press release from Meng. “Our census media efforts must reflect the future we want for our country which requires us to go beyond the bare minimum to achieving full inclusion in our outreach. We must make every effort to ensure that everyone counts!” Yoo added.