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Hoeven Holds Hearing on Counting Indian Country in the 2020 Census

February 14, 2018

Click here to watch video of Senator Hoeven’s opening remarks.

 

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today held an oversight hearing to examine efforts to conduct an accurate count of Native Americans in the upcoming 2020 Census.

 

American Indians and Alaska Natives have historically been undercounted in the decennial census. This is largely due to the rural, remote geographies of many tribal communities, as well as other challenges that inhibit the Census Bureau from reaching an accurate count of Native Americans.

 

“Census data is critical for our Nation,” said Hoeven. “Census results are used to draw district lines for the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, and local governments. They determine the distribution of $600 billion in annual federal assistance to states, localities, and tribes. They also direct community decisions affecting schools, housing, transportation, and health care services. All of these functions are dependent on an accurate census. To ensure an accurate count in Indian Country, the Census Bureau must continue to engage in meaningful outreach with tribal communities and find innovative solutions.”

 

Click here for complete testimony and video of the hearing.

 

Senator Hoeven’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

 

“Good afternoon. I call this oversight hearing to order.

 

“Today the committee will hold an oversight hearing on the upcoming 2020 Census.

 

“Our Constitution requires that our nation’s population be accurately counted every ten years. However, in Indian Country, getting an accurate population count can be a difficult task.

 

“Many tribal communities are located in geographically isolated areas. Among other challenges, simply accessing these communities can inhibit an accurate Census count.

  

“Although it may be difficult to collect, Census data is critical for our nation. Census results are used to draw district lines for the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, and local governments. They determine the distribution of $600 billion in annual federal assistance to states, localities, and tribes.

 

“They also direct community decisions affecting schools, housing, transportation, and health care services. All of these functions are dependent on an accurate census.

 

“To ensure an accurate count in Indian Country, the Census Bureau must continue to engage in meaningful outreach with tribal communities and find innovative approaches to conducting the Census.

 

“In 2015 and 2016, the Census Bureau held a series of consultation sessions with tribal communities. The Bureau has issued a final report on these consultation sessions which includes recommendations on how to accurately count American Indians and Alaska Natives.

 

“In my home state of North Dakota, there are roughly 32,000 Native Americans. Because of the strong presence of Native Americans in my state, one of the Bureau’s consultation sessions was conducted in Fort Yates, North Dakota.

 

“I look forward to hearing about the Bureau’s progress in addressing recommendations from tribes in North Dakota and across the country – as well as how the Administration, tribes, and other stakeholders can work together to conduct an accurate count of the Native American community in the upcoming 2020 Census. 

 

“With that, I want to welcome our witnesses. Thank you for being here, and I look forward to your testimony.  Before we hear from the witnesses, I want to turn to the Vice Chairman, Senator Udall, for his opening statement.”

 

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