The 2020 Census – What Does It Really Mean?
En Español aquí
You have until September 30 to complete the 2020 Census. While you probably know it counts the population of our state and country, but did you know there is over $1 Trillion in federal funding tied to it? in addition, it means more representation for us in the House of Representatives. But it also has a direct impact on you. Here’s how:
What does it mean if I’m not counted?
When you don’t complete the Census, the government doesn’t count you among the population — so it doesn’t consider you for funding allocation. While you do not receive the funding individually, you as an individual are considered when government money is distributed to the community where you live. Therefore, your community doesn’t get your share of the money if you’re not counted. As a result, the government may not be able to provide your communities with necessary resources, such as improved schools, better public transportation, and crucial infrastructure improvements. Also, the number of officials per state in the U.S. House of Representatives depends on the Census count, so an undercount for Illinois could result in the state losing members of Congress and one less person fighting for you in Washington D.C.
That is what is happening today as people do not complete the Census, putting Illinois at risk of an undercount — especially in communities of color.
What does it mean that the Census deadline is September 30?
If you do not complete the census by September 30, you will not be counted among the official United States population for the next ten years. To ensure you are counted, complete the 2020 Census today at 2020census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020 (English) or 844-468-2020 (Spanish).
What does the Census really mean for healthcare programs?
The best example to use is from this year’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Based on the estimates from the 2010 Census count, Illinois received $4.91 billion as part of the CARES Act. If the state’s population estimate had been only 5% less (due to an undercount), Illinois would have lost $235.5 million in COVID-19 relief funding – about $371 lost for every uncounted person. In other words: by completing the Census, you can directly impact the strength of Illinois’ healthcare programs.
What does the Census really mean for educational programs?
Federal Census funding makes a direct impact on the educational programs within your community, such as Early Start, Head Start, WIC, and SNAP. Additionally, funds can be used to build more schools, increase the number of teachers, decrease class sizes, improve ESL programs, and strengthen the free and reduced-cost breakfast and lunch programs in schools. Furthermore, nonprofit entities that support students could also benefit by receiving funding and resources to continue providing critical programs, such as tutoring, and extracurricular activities, like sports or the arts.
What does the Census really mean for public transportation?
In Chicago, many of us rely on public transportation; we take the train to work or our kids take the bus to school. When you are counted, the government can more accurately determine residents’ transportation needs. This could result in the city having the ability to add more buses or routes to better serve your community.
What does Illinois’ representation in the U.S. House of Representatives really mean?
Illinois’ representation in the House of Representatives is determined by how many people live in the state. Therefore, if not everybody is counted, we won’t have as many representatives in the House fighting for our state’s programs, our cities’ needs, and our individual well-being.