APHA denounces SCOTUS Census decision

Date: Oct 14 2020

Contact: Media Relations

Statement from APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD

The American Public Health Association is stunned and disappointed by a Supreme Court ruling upholding a Trump administration request to shut down the census early, a move that will likely result in the undercount of millions of people, costing them critical financial assistance and representation for years to come.

The once-a-decade census count is a crucial government tool used to determine funding for our schools and roads, key programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and how many representatives each state has in Congress. The census has a huge impact on the social determinants of health, meaning an inaccurate count can only worsen the health disparities that plague our nation.

Our country needs a proper counting of all of us — especially chronically underserved communities including low-income communities and communities of color — to provide equitable resources and to have representation to shine a light on justice and ensure we all have the ability to live long, healthy lives. This court decision sheds darkness in its path.

As advocates for public health, we echo the words of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the only justice to record dissent.

“The harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable,” Sotomayor wrote. “And respondents will suffer their lasting impact for at least the next 10 years.”

Sadly, we couldn’t agree more. The census should never be a political numbers game. But the Supreme Court’s action certainly appeared to turn it into one. 



The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.