…In modern times, the U.S. Census has become an important tool that goes far beyond mere counting. It is used for taxation and to track demographics and is a tool for social justice and equity.

For areas like those served by the Diocese of Orange, with its diverse and large undocumented population, a census is vital in bringing needed funds, services and a voice to underserved communities. For this reason, the diocese is working with the government in the upcoming count and has created a Census 2020 Committee to help ensure all are counted.

The government directs more than $2,000 per person in tax revenue to communities, based in part on census numbers. So, in short, the more people are counted, the more money is available.

“Census numbers are important for us to make sure we’re serving the people,” said Monsignor Stephen Doktorczyk, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Orange.

“The Catholic Church and other service providers rely on the national census to provide an accurate count in order to effectively serve those in need,” said the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops in a statement.

Undercounting is a recurring problem in Orange County and Southern California, as many fear participating. However, it damages vulnerable populations….

“As Catholics we believe in the dignity of every human person as the foundation of a moral vision for a society. And that is part of helping our neighbors and especially for those who are excluded,” said Greg Walgenbach, director of Life, Justice and Peace for the diocese.

Census numbers help guide how and where $700-$800 billion in federal taxes are spent on schools, roads, hospitals, child care centers and senior centers. Data is used for spending on programs such as Medicaid, Special Education grants and numerous social programs for the poor and disadvantaged. It also is used for redistricting and apportionment of congressional seats and electoral votes and to monitor discrimination and civil rights laws.

In coming months the diocese will convene parish leaders, assemble volunteer teams, distribute information including bulletin inserts, set up tables with information and materials and create questionnaire assistance centers.

The above is excerpted from a Dec. 30, 2019 story in OC Catholic.