Posted on November 17, 2009
Dong Chan Kim, secretary general of Korean American Voter’s Council, held a presentation in Senior Community Center in Flushing explaining the importance of the census as well as schedules, directions, and main facts on Census 2010.
The Importance of Census Data
Every year, the federal government allocates more than $400 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data.
Within the United States, which currently in an economic crisis, every state is trying its best to receive many federal funds as possible. Under this condition, if the state cannot accurately access the number of residents or the fluctuation of the population, the state would be in a state of financial crisis. That is why Census 2010 is of great importance in every state’s economy.
Chief Director Kim’s presentation is as follows:
What happens when you don’t participate in Census 2010?
1. Without adequate funding, the state government will increase the tax on the state/city/ town government to compensate.
2. State-financed insurance coverage for small business owners, low-income families, and children of low-income families will decrease.
3. Senior care centers and day cares for children will be closed one after the other.
4. Quality of public schools will decrease rapidly.
5. Road system and all sorts of government facilities will suffer from lack of maintenance.
6. Number of politician working for the community and, therefore, budget security will decrease.
Additionally, if one benefit is cut down, other welfare benefits will receive negative response as well. Not participating in the census indirectly damages the public’s interests as well as the neighborhood community.
From April 1st 2009 onward, people who are without status identification, temporary visitors, visitors of friends or family, study abroad students, land agents, official resident or resident reporters all have to participate in the census.
Every Korean American should put “Korean” under the race section of the census. This section is not asking for the person’s nationality but the person’s ethnicity and race. Ethnic Koreans who has lived outside Korean before immigration should also put “Korean” under the race section of the census.
Though self-identity is the biggest factor when it comes to defining race and ethnicity, if one of the parents is Korean, then the child of the family should be encouraged to put “Korean” in the census as well.
Even in a household with roommates, the census questionnaire should be sent to only one person in the household. However, the roommates should be included in the questionnaire as resident 1, resident 2, resident 3, resident 4, etc.
There is no question regarding immigration status in the census. The main focus on this census is how many people are living under one household. The questionnaire is very basic.
If a person wants a Korean version of questionnaire, they can easily check “Korean” under most comfortable language section and send it back to the US Census Bureau. The Census Bureau will immediately send back a Korean copy of the questionnaire.
The benefits the Korean American community received after 2000 Census report
1. A seat in the U.S. House of Representatives was apportioned for District 22 in Flushing.
2. Korean services in New York City were legally passed.
3. Korean voter registration form, ballots, and interpreters for election administrative purposes were created.
4. P.S. 32 has created a bilingual class for students to learn both English and Korean.
5. International school in both the east and west coast has started to teach Korean culture and history.
6. Many community organizations within the Korean American community have received a massive budget support from the federal government.
7. Korean American presence became acknowledged in New York City.
Why is the role of the Task Force important?
Because the Korean American community is comprised majorly of new immigrants who experience language as well as cultural barriers, many lack the understanding of the rationale behind the Census participation campaign.
We are working for the future of our communities. People who are active participants of our community who have great interest in this issue should all work for developing definite and creative campaigns within our community.
The information above is from the presentation made during “Day of Census 2010” campaign at senior community center in Flushing, NY.