Several UTSA College of Public Policy faculty and alumni have been selected to serve on the 2020 U.S. Census San Antonio Complete Count Committee. The committee will include demography Professor Rogelio Sáenz; Interim Dean of the college and Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter, graduate student of Social Work Lily Casura and Public Administration alumni Drew Galloway ’14 and Enrique Trevino M.P.A. ’18
In the summer of 2018, the City of San Antonio held stakeholder meetings to lay the groundwork for the 2020 Census planning strategies to reach to all residents who have been historically undercounted and underrepresented. The City joined efforts with the County to help the committee reach these populations.
Galloway is the Executive Director of MOVE Texas, a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging the millennial generation in the democratic process and ensuring they have a voice in politics. Treviño is a former student ambassador for the City of San Antonio District 3.
“I am very happy to be part of the 2020 US Census San Antonio Complete Count Committee,” said Trevino. “Being a part of this committee will give me the opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills I learned from my master’s degree in Public Administration at UTSA.”
Trevino added “In all, it’s everyone’s civic duty to ensure we are all counted for federal funding programs and accurate representation in congressional seats at the state and federal level.”
The mentioned committee members are volunteers informing citizens on the importance of the census to them and their community and motivating them to respond to the 2020 Census. They will engage in community outreach efforts to deliver consistent messaging for all census activities, coordinate targeted community outreach, increase the self-response rate for households responding online, by phone or by mail and implement a work plan to drive participation among undercounted populations.
“Before grad school, I guess I would have thought of Census as ‘dry, dull and boring,’ whereas now I have gained a total appreciation for it and how vital and essential it really is,” said Casura. “Through my social work internships and my classwork I’ve gotten an opportunity to use it all the time, and have relied on it extensively through the mapping I’ve done of population characteristics in San Antonio that won an award from Tableau. I volunteered for the committee because I wanted to give back for all I’ve learned from Census, and also in these crucial times politically help ensure that vulnerable populations in San Antonio really get the opportunity to be counted. So much of future funding – and focus! – depends on getting that right. It truly is an “all hands on deck!” moment for the City and everyone who cares about our residents being represented fully and accurately for our future.”
The census count impacts how political districts are drawn. When people are undercounted, many Texas families lose out on federal funding for social service programs.
“Boundaries for redistricting (redrawing of political districts) is determined by the census count,” said Potter. “If a population in an area is undercounted, their representation when new districts are drawn will be diluted.” Potter goes on to state that “federal programs that allocate resources to states are often linked to the population size.”
He added, “An undercount could result in Texas missing out on many millions of dollars for programs like food stamps, Medicaid, Head Start, transportation, and many others.”