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Advocacy Alert: Why an Accurate Census Count in 2020 Matters

Aug 20, 2019 | Blog

The colossal task of counting every individual in the country as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment will launch on April 1, 2020, and for the first time, the Census Bureau’s count of the population will be primarily web-based.

The decennial census; the nation’s once-per-decade, constitutionally-mandated count of every American, regardless of their citizenship status, is one of the nation’s most important programs.

According to New York State, more than $880 billion of federal funding was distributed between the states using formulas that were based on census data, in 2016. New Yorkers’ fair share of federal funds for programs essential to health care, education, housing, economic development and transportation, as well as our political representation in Washington, all depends on an accurate and fully-counted census response.

Three key reasons why a reliable count matters:
  • Understanding Population Demographics: The information collected during the census provides key statistics about the population’s characteristics. This information helps elected officials and policymakers understand the population they serve.  The core demographic information about households includes the age, race, ethnicity, gender, years spent in a household for every person in the country.
  • Allocating Government Representation: The U.S. Constitution outlines that the census is used to allocate and apportion seats for the House of Representatives equitably. Geographic shifts in population can result in a reduction or increase in the number of House members for that state. In addition, census data are used to set the boundaries for various governmental entities, like congressional districts, state legislative districts, school districts, and voting precincts.
  • Distributing Grant Funding for Programs: State and federal governments use census data to provide grant funds, ensuring that certain program funding streams are allocated based on defined needs in the population, which in turn helps programs focus on having an impact on specific populations. The Census Bureau estimates that more than $675 billion in federal funding is allocated through formula grants using census data.
Why it matters:

New York State needs every community to advocate for Census 2020 because without your help, incorrect census data will misrepresent the needs of our community for the next decade. Your support will allow the entire health and human services field to continue the tremendous work being done to improve the quality of life for millions across New York State.

To learn more about Census 2020 visit https://www.census.gov/en.html


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