The website WalletHub recently performed an analysis of state economies most exposed to the coronavirus and Louisiana ranked number one. With the coronavirus showing no signs of stopping soon, the 2020 Census may be our best defense to the economic fallout. The WalletHub study looked at highly impacted industries, like Accommodations and Food Services or Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, as well as resources for business to cope with the crisis, like share of workers with paid sick leave or state rainy day funds. With a large share of our state’s workers in the hospitality or oil and gas industries and a very weak safety net, Louisiana is now expected to have one of the worst recessions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Diversifying the state’s economy will take years, but there’s one thing every Louisianan can do to lessen the impact today: fill out the Census at 2020Census.gov. That’s because the 2020 Census will determine the number of resources we see for the next decade. Our state’s residents have been here before. We know from our experience with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that recovery is a more than decade-long project. New Orleans is still not all the way back nearly 15 years after the storms and the Mayor and other elected officials have suggested that is at least in part due to New Orleanians being dramatically undercounted in the 2010 Census. That year, New Orleans only had a 45% response rate, resulting in the city losing more than $300 million in federal dollars.
With more than $2 trillion set to be distributed through the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, we desperately need everyone counted. Among the resources the census brings to our state are funding for:
Plus, the census determines how we are represented at the state and federal level. If we ever want to change our abysmal safety net and raise the minimum wage, extend paid sick leave, or provide women equal pay, we all need to stand up and be counted.