Back in March, ACNJ digitally released its annual Newark Kids Count databook, detailing the state of children in New Jersey’s largest city by analyzing five-year data trends across multiple wellness indicators, including health, economic security, education and more. This year, the special section focused on the significance of the 2020 Census and how Census data inform vital funding for the many programs used by Brick City.
The importance of the Census cannot be overstated. Newark alone sees more than 28,000 children receiving SNAP (formerly food stamps), roughly 32,000 students relying on school meals, nearly 13,000 Newark women, infants and children enrolled in WIC and nearly 57,000 children with NJ FamilyCare health insurance. The allocation of funding for these safety net programs are made possible through Census data. Current and future generations, families and children, young and old all rely on these services for the support they need to help them thrive.
And yet, the City of Newark trails behind the rest of the state in filling out their Census questionnaires. As of April 6th, only 29 percent of households responded.
More than $45 billion in federal funding are allocated to New Jersey based on Census population counts, supporting schools, child care programs, health care, nutrition programs and more each decade. In addition, the count determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives and is used to draw congressional and state legislative districts, determining how much power New Jersey will have in the federal arena. We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to shape the future of our communities. Individuals can respond online, by mail or by phone. By taking ten minutes to fill out the questionnaire, and encouraging others to fill out their forms, we are helping to secure a brighter future for all.