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The benefits of the 2020 Census

The Census count is like a very, very big photograph of everyone in the United States. It’s important for that photograph to include everyone who calls the United States “home,” because it is used to make really important decisions.

People of color, renters, and young children are among the groups most-often undercounted in the Census. That has to change! Because we don’t get the resources and representation we should when we are undercounted.

The Census is a snapshot of the United States.

The Census count is like a very, very big photograph of everyone in the United States. It’s important for that photograph to include everyone who calls the United States “home,” because it is used to make really important decisions.

Our communities are traditionally undercounted.

People of color, renters, and young children are among the groups most-often undercounted in the Census. That has to change! Because we don’t get the resources and representation we should when we are undercounted.

Your political representation depends on the Census.

The Census determines how many seats your state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. If our communities aren’t counted, our representation suffers.

Your political districts are also determined by the Census.

The Census is used for drawing district boundaries on a federal, state, and local level. Even as we fight back against gerrymandering that attempts to politicize representation, we  must recognize equal representation isn’t possible if we aren’t counted.

A significant amount of federal money is allocated based on it.

More than $70 BILLION that the federal government gives to communities is based on the Census. You have to take the Census for your community to get its fair share.

Proper funding for public schools.

Counting all children is hugely important because Census results help determine where school construction will take place, and which schools will be renovated or expanded. If children in your community aren’t counted, it makes it easier for them to be ignored.

Proper funding for school programs.

Funding for programs like the National School Lunch Program and Head Start (which provides early childhood education to low-income children and families) is determined in part by the Census count.

Proper funding for emergency services.

If your community has changed in the last decade, decision makers need to know how to keep it safe! An accurate Census count ensures they know which communities need investments in services like fire departments, hospitals, EMTs, and even disaster preparation.

Better health care services.

Do you want better support for local mental health services, public health services, Medicaid, and nutrition programs? They all rely on Census data for funding.

Better transportation planning.

Transportation planning relies on Census Data to determine where, and how, roads, highways, bike paths, and more are built. So unless you want to spend the next decade sitting in traffic wishing the highway had another lane, you need to participate.

Better transportation services.

Federal funding for public transportation in your area is determined based on the Census as well. That new bus route that would help you get to work on time? Participating in the Census is a small step towards making it a reality.

Better support for families in need.

Support for low-income individuals and families make our communities stronger. These folks are also often undercounted, and ignored. We can’t let that happen. We need to make sure everyone is counted so the programs that help them are funded properly.

Local governments use the Census, too.

State and local governments use the Census to determine how to allocate their resources just like the federal government does.

Businesses rely on the Census for strategy and planning.

A lot of people don’t realize the business implications of the Census. It’s valuable data that helps businesses understand which communities they serve, which communities they should serve, and where their resources should go.

It impacts where businesses decide to grow and expand.

Do you need to drive a long way to be able to buy healthy food at a grocery store, or clothes for your family? Census data helps businesses understand community needs, including where they should open new stores, or adjust the distribution of their products.

And with expansion comes job opportunities.

If businesses better understand the potential of your community, and decide to invest there, it may bring new jobs to your community along with it.

A better future for your community.

The Census is a unique opportunity to ensure our communities are fairly represented, and fairly resourced. It ensures our children get the education and resources they need to thrive, it ensures our sick get the care they need to get better, it ensures we have a better quality of life right where we live. It isn’t the only thing we need to do to make our future brighter, but it’s an important step.

It only happens once every ten years.

And we only get this opportunity to help create a better future once every ten years. So if you aren’t counted now, you’ll have to wait until 2030 for your next opportunity. Don’t let it go to waste. Make sure you participate!