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Census 2020: What's at Stake

Posted on Friday, September 27th, 2019

The United States Constitution requires a count of the population every ten years. In 2020, America will get its chance to count every resident, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Counting everyone is important!  Rock the Vote estimates that a community will lose $20,000 in funding over a ten year period for every individual not counted.  This means that just one family of five not counted translates to a loss of $100,000 over ten years. In short, the economic health of communities hinge on making sure everyone is counted in 2020. 

Census data is critical – it’s the basis by which political power and federal money is distributed in our communities.  The number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets are determined by census numbers. Census figures are used to allocate more than $675 billion in federal funding to local communities.  These federal dollars support essential programs on the state, county, and community levels and impact housing, education, transportation, employment, health care, and public policy.  There are 55 census-guided federal programs targeted to rural communities alone.  Without a complete and accurate count of the population, communities will not get their fair share of federal funding and miss out much-needed funding opportunities.  

There's more to census data than just funds distribution.  Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores.  Local governments use census data for public safety and emergency preparedness.  Residents and nonprofits use data to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality of life, consumer advocacy, and grant applications.  Real estate developers use data to make decisions on housing construction and neighborhood revitalization.  Economic developers should care about this count!

So, what can you do?  Check out the US Census 2020 Partner Resource page for materials and content you can share with your community.  Consider becoming a more formal Partner – pledge to share 2020 Census messages and mobilize constituents.  Join your local Complete Count Committee and work with them to help spread the word about the importance of the 2020 Census.