What Is The Census? Why Is It Important?

The U.S. Constitution requires that every person living in the United States is counted every ten years.  The next census will take place from March through July of 2020. Census data are important to our democracy – these data determine apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and how district lines are drawn at all levels of government. Census data also guide the allocation of more than $800 billion in federal funding to programs that are crucial to the well-being of families and communities.

Top 10 Census Guided Federal Programs:

  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (SNAP)
  • Medicare
  • Highway Planning and Construction
  • Section 8 Housing
  • Title 1 Grants to Local Education Agencies
  • National School Lunch Program
  • Special Education Grants
  • State Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP)
  • Head Start / Early Head Start

We only get one chance every ten years at achieving a full count – these data will inform important policy decisions and determine federal funding allocations for a decade.