Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan speaks during a press conference on December 4, 2017, at Seattle City Hall.
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Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan speaks during a press conference on December 4, 2017, at Seattle City Hall.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

How Seattle plans to count everyone in the next census

One year until the 2020 Census, Seattle leaders are working to get people counted who historically have not been: immigrants, LGBTQ people, homeless individuals, and people of color, who are often under-counted in censuses.

Monday, local officials announced they're giving one million dollars to community groups to do outreach in order to encourage people from those groups to fill out next year's survey.

Estela Ortega, who directs the group El Centro de la Raza in Seattle, helped announce the fund. She said it's important people know what it means when they don't fill out the census.

"Not being counted," she said, "means less federal funds that the state and local leaders use to provide health care, education, housing. And those who will be seriously threatened will be those living in poverty and communities of color."

The fund is coming from the Seattle Foundation, the City of Seattle and King County. The state legislature is also considering a bill to put millions more dollars into census outreach.

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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said they're spreading the word about the census now because the city needs every person counted.

"The federal government uses those counts to determine what part of our tax dollars come back to us so that we can support programs like SNAP," Durkan said. "It's also used to determine what voice we have in Washington, D. C. We know that we are one of the fastest growing cities and regions in America right now. It is likely that we're entitled to another Congressional seat."

The 2020 Census will launch one year from now, on April 1. For the first time it will be issued mostly online.

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