Census 2020 – Help Us Make Sure That Everyone Counts!

Many people are unaware of how census data impacts their community and day-to-day lives. Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for people to know that it has never been easier to respond to the census!  You can complete it online, by phone, or by mail, without having to meet a census taker.

The U.S. Constitution requires that a census be taken every 10 years to count all people—both citizens and noncitizens—living in the United States.  January 2020 was the kickoff of the current U.S. Census which will provide Federal, State and Local Governments, business and non-profit organizations with important data that impacts our state and community for the next 10 years! An accurate count of the population serves as the basis for determining fair political representation and plays an important role in many areas of public life.  Below are several ways that the Census will impact our community.

Determination of Seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Voting Districts

State representation in the House of Representatives is redistributed, or reapportioned, every decade based on state population counts from the census.  Each state is constitutionally guaranteed 1 seat, but no state has permanent claim to their current number of assigned House seats.  After each census the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are distributed based on the population of each state.  This ensures that the number of Representatives from a state aligns with proportion of the U.S. population living in that state.  The Census Bureau will publish apportionment population counts by the end of 2020.  This information will affect the size of state delegations for the 2022 U.S. House elections and state votes in the U.S. Electoral College for the 2024 presidential election.

Data from the 2020 Census will also be used to help redraw congressional, state, and local district boundaries.  This ensures that voting districts have similar numbers of residents and that each vote in a district has equal weight.

Distribution of Federal Resources and Emergency Response Resources

Data collected as a part of the census is used to help distribute billions in Federal funding for health, education, housing, and infrastructure each year.  Programs like Medicaid, highway planning and construction, special education grants to states, the National School Lunch Program, and Head Start receive their local funding allotments from census data.  These programs provide critical support and services in our community.

Census data also provides detailed population information that is critical for emergency response in the wake of natural disasters and national emergencies.  Federal, State and Local governments along with first responders and disaster recovery personnel rely on data collected by the census to allocate resources after catastrophic events.  In the current COVID-19 pandemic demographic details from the 2010 census have been utilized by public health personnel to aid with tracking outbreaks.

Community Planning

The census helps to provide data that is utilized by local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations to determine community infrastructure needs such as new roads, medical care facilities, schools and public services such as fire and police stations. Data collected by the census provides important information for businesses and nonprofits about the changing needs of the population.

Census Questions

The 2020 Census asks simple questions about you and the individuals who are living in your home on April 1, 2020.  Please visit the 2020 Census website for more information about the census questions and how data collected in the census will be used.

Important Information to Avoid Census Scams

There is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census!  Additionally, the US Census Bureau will never ask for your social security number, money or donations, anything on behalf of a political party or your bank account or credit card information.  If someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau contacts you via email or phone and asks you for one of these things, it’s a scam, and you should not cooperate.

Your personal information is kept confidential. The Census Bureau is bound by federal law to protect your information, and your data is used only for statistical purposes.

Spread the Word

The 2020 Census is more than a population count. It’s an opportunity to shape our community’s future.

Article Categories: Access to Care, COVID-19, News, Population Health