The United States is gearing up for the 2020 census. A lot is at stake in communities like Metro Detroit, where there are lots of barriers.
New Michigan Media Director Hayg Oshagan, who is also a professor of media studies at Wayne State University, is in charge of the statewide strategy to use ethnic and minority media to help increase minority participation in the census.
Oshagan serves on census committees for the City of Detroit, Wayne County, and the Michigan Nonprofits Association. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also appointed him to her statewide census count committee as well.
“The more I’ve learned of it, the more I understood the really serious implications of the census,” says Oshagan on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson. “I have the chance to see the census from multiple levels statewide.”
“There are a number of groups that traditionally are undercounted,” he continues. “Children is one large category, for example. And Michigan, by some estimates based on the 2010 census, has lost about $10 million a year in children’s-related programs because of the undercount of kids in Michigan.”
He also points to other groups that are traditionally under-counted: people living in poverty, farm workers, homeless people, rural Michiganders and renters.
But a key category are minorities — ethnic and racial. That’s why he says his effort to mobilize ethnic and minority media to promote census participation is especially crucial.