by Fr. Eric Cruz, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, Bronx Regional Coordinator

If not for the census described in Luke 2:1-5, the origin of Christianity and Christmas traditions may have been very different. Here in the U.S., the Census goes far beyond mere counting; it is an instrument used for taxation, for tracking demographics, and for social justice and equity.

As Catholics, we believe in the dignity of every human person as the foundation of a moral vision for society. Working to support a fair and accurate count is part of helping our neighbors, especially those who are excluded. In the name of justice, we believe that everyone must be included in the census count.

A census undercount is a challenge within this archdiocese, as failing to respond harms vulnerable communities in need of support. Although personal information from the census is kept confidential by law and cannot be shared with other agencies or law enforcement, many still fear it and fail to respond.

Census numbers are important for us to make sure we’re serving the people.

Our efforts to support the count are an essential part of making sure that every person has their very basic needs met: from just wages to safe housing, quality healthcare to quality education for all, clean parks to healthy affordable foods.

We have both a legal and moral responsibility to take part in the census for the sake of the common good.