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How the census overlooks the LGBTQ community

In 2020, for the first time ever, the U.S. census will count same-sex couples. Sixteen years after gay marriage first became legal in Massachusetts, and five years after it became legal across the country, it’s a landmark achievement for those who have fought for decades to be recognized as equals.

But, according to Kerith Conron from UCLA’s Williams Institute, it needs to go further.

“The old expression is ‘if you aren’t counted, then you don’t count,’” says Conron.

And the census, administered every 10 years, is the primary tool by which you are counted.

There’s a lot at stake: The census determines the allocation of federal funds, to the tune of $675 billion dollars per year. That data is used to monitor and enforce equal employment opportunities under the Civil Rights Act and housing opportunities under the Fair Housing Act; to identify population groups who may not be getting needed medical services under the Public Health Service Act; and to inform planning related to Medicaid, CHIP, TANF (welfare), housing block grants and more.

In other words, pretty important stuff.

It also helps shape our understanding of our ever-changing society, projecting, for example, that the U.S. will become a “majority minority” country by 2044.

Read the full story here.

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