Why the Census Matters

There’s a lot at stake in the 2020 Census and our community can’t afford an undercount. Essential services throughout our communities rely on federal funding that is based on the information collected during the Census.

Schools

The 2020 Census count impacts the federal funds that communities receive each year for programs and services that are critical for schools, students, and younger children, such as:

  • Special education, Head Start, after-school programs, and classroom technology.
  • Food assistance, including free and reduced-price school lunches.
  • Maternal and child health programs.

Roads

Billions of dollars in federal funds (more than $675 billion) are spent annually on critical transportation services in communities across the country, including maintenance and construction of roads and bridges. The decennial census count will inform spending decisions for the next decade.

Among the federal programs tied to census statistics are the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Highway Planning and Construction program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grants.

The Highway Planning and Construction program helps states plan, build, improve, and maintain their portions of the National Highway System, while funds from Community Development Block Grants are used by communities to build and repair streets, bridges, and alleys.

Housing

Decennial census data provide a population base for dozens of federal surveys. The Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program uses census data in combination with birth, death, and migration data to produce annual population and housing unit estimates. These estimates are then used as population controls for the American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, and many other federal surveys—so that the numbers of housing units and people in certain categories agree with the Census Bureau’s official estimates.

Fire & Disaster Response

Many probably never realized that Census data could affect how counties respond to a disaster. It’s true! The information you provide will help the government to better serve you in an emergency or a disaster-situation, as well as secure federal funding for important programs and incentives for residents of our region. However, this data is only as good as the count that is taken during the Census.