Census Disability Resources: https://disabilityorganizing.net/resources/
Why is the Census Important for Disabled People?
Reasons People with Disabilities Do Not Participate in the Census
“I’ve never been asked.”
Of the 68 people with disabilities we interviewed in our focus groups and listening sessions during the Fall 2018, only 11 had ever received the census—in their entire lives. Of those, only nine had returned it. There is no reason to suspect this is not also true beyond the scope of our inquiry, suggesting that the number of people with disabilities who have participated in the census is significantly lower than the number of people with disabilities who should, and could be counted.“2020 Census Disability Community Toolkit.” #DisabilityCounts2020
Think about that for a moment.
A lot of disabled people are not asked why they don’t participate in census-taking even though disabled people are dependent on so many of these systems whether it’s federal funding (i.e. food stamps) or even life saving programs such as Medicaid. It’s imperative for disabled people to participate in the census, but we often are left out of the conversation!
This isn’t okay with me at the slightest. Is it okay with you?
As a disabled woman, it’s heartbreaking. As someone who understands how many people who are dependent on these systems can be going out with life dependent resources, it’s not okay. There have been so many thoughts on my mind lately on how I can make an impact for these communities which I care for; that I desperately want to help.
We often forget that our disabled community represents people of all ethnicities, races, etc. Disabled people are diverse. When I think of how my community of disabled people can be severely harmed by not being included in an important conversation, it’s heartbreaking.
If you’re now wondering, “What can do we do to make sure that disabled people are counted for the census?” Let’s talk about it.
The deadline for the census has been moved up, unfortunately, to September 30th. That means we have less time to “fill in the gaps” of the census.
Don’t worry, I have ideas for you.
Even if you can’t physically volunteer, it doesn’t mean that you can’t encourage voters! Let’s get our community active! If you’re disabled, you can encourage your family and friends to become active too!
How do we get our disabled community (especially on a local level such as Wicomico and Worcester County) more involved in the census? Rural areas like ours need this funding- and the disabled community is already counted as a “hard to count,” community per the Census Bureau.
- It’s pivotal to understand that ACCESSIBILITY means that disabled people require you to present your content with closed captions, Image Descriptions/Braille, and presenting information in ways that will make it accessible for all disabled people. If you want to outreach to disabled people, you need to remember that disability is not “one size fits all.” The same way public events planned thoughtlessly are often inaccessible for me as a wheelchair user, it’s inaccessible when videos lack Closed Captions for Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals.
- Many disabled people are isolating and or quarantined due to the health risks of COVID. While many disabled (and able-bodied) people, unfortunately, do not have internet access because of financial issues, you can raise awareness of the issues at stake by your able-bodied friends and family when they don’t fill in their census! Make videos, share your experiences, and get involved.
- Use the hashtag #DisabilityCounts2020 which was created to share the disability experience in relation to why the census is important to our community if you’re a disabled person. I have created resources at the top (with the MD Logo) and shared other resources that were made by the California organization to help turnout the disability community for the census!
I will be sharing videos, segments, and clips of my census volunteerism throughout this month and more information. I hope this helps! I’m excited to share my journey of how I encourage census-taking in my area. I can’t wait to see your volunteerism too!