May 29, 2019

Udall and Census Director Dillingham Tour Los Lunas

Udall emphasizes the critical importance of counting underrepresented communities and addressing unique data collection challenges in New Mexico

Udall & Heinrich invited Dillingham to New Mexico earlier this year

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall toured areas of Los Lunas, NM with U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, where they discussed the importance of ensuring an accurate count for the upcoming 2020 Census. Prior to touring remote areas in Los Lunas, Udall and Dillingham held a meeting with local officials and leaders from Valencia County. 

PHOTO: Udall and Census Director Dillingham Tour Los Lunas

Earlier this year, Udall and Senator Martin Heinrich sent a letter inviting Dillingham to visit New Mexico and share how the Bureau is taking adequate steps to count underrepresented communities and address the unique data collection challenges in New Mexico.

“I am pleased that Director Dillingham accepted my invitation with Senator Heinrich to visit New Mexico, and today’s tour of Los Lunas was a productive one,” Udall said. “New Mexico’s rich diversity is our greatest strength – and ensuring an accurate census count is critical to making sure that every community in our state gets its rightful share of federal resources. New Mexico is the state most at risk of an undercount, and we need to get this right. I’m glad Director Dillingham and his team were able to see New Mexico’s unique diversity, demographics, and geography firsthand, to gain a better appreciation for the unique data collection challenges that exist in our state and to plan for an accurate count in 2020.”

“We must make sure that all underrepresented communities are counted: rural communities, tribal communities, colonias, immigrants, non-English and limited-English speakers, children,” Udall continued. “An undercount would have devastating effects in our state, namely a reduction in New Mexico’s proportional representation in Congress and a reduction in our fair share of federal funding – potentially by hundreds of millions of dollars. An undercount of just one percent this go-around could cost the state $600 million over a ten year period. This on-site visit from the Census Bureau is a key step to preventing the disastrous effects of a potential undercount, making sure the 2020 census counts every New Mexican, and ensuring our state and our communities get their share of federal resources.”

New Mexico is more at-risk for undercounting in the 2020 census than any other state. When communities are undercounted, they receive fewer federal resources. This is especially troubling for remote areas of New Mexico, which rely heavily on federal investment in health care, childhood development, infrastructure, and public education to provide services to communities. For every individual that the census misses, thousands of dollars in federal funding would be lost each year, and even a one percent undercount could mean a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade.        

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