SALSA (Strategic Alliance for Leadership and Social Action) addressed the Brownwood City Council to raise concerns about the need to ensure that all persons are counted in the 2020 Census.

There are an estimated 5,000 Mexicans and Mexican Americans living in Brownwood and many comprise what the Census Bureau refers to as a “hard to count” population.

The community is “hard to count” due to limited language proficiency, not understanding what the Census is, a distrust of the government, not being sure if legal permanent residents and guest workers count, or not knowing if children should be counted. Every person missed is $14,000 lost in federal funds for Brownwood.

The concern raised by SALSA is that for every 1,000 persons missed, $14 million will be lost in federal funds to the city for schools, libraries, hospitals, police and fire protection, emergency medical care services, infrastructure, parks, and many other things.

The Mexican and Mexican American population of Brownwood represents an estimated $70 million in federal funds over the next 10 years.

In the 2010 Census, Hispanic children accounted for 40 percent of all the children missed under the age of five. That’s one million Hispanic children missed and billions lost to localities.

SALSA is organizing a phone bank to reach as many residents as possible between now and the new deadline, Oct 31. Bilingual Census literature will also be distributed wherever possible, depending on COVID-19 related restrictions. The group will work with an ad hoc group of civic leaders to promote the Census to ensure an accurate and complete count.