Stand Up and Be Counted – For a Stronger St. Louis
As 2020 rolls in, so does a new decade and the undertaking of the federal census. It is critical that all area residents complete the census form and are counted. Federal dollars for the region and our congressional representation depend on it.
The St. Louis Community Foundation along with other local funders convened in 2019 to form the St. Louis Regional Census Fund, which is hosted at the St. Louis Community Foundation. Funders participating in the pooled fund include Clark-Fox Family Foundation, Deaconess Foundation, Incarnate Word Foundation, Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, Marillac Mission Fund, Missouri Foundation for Health, St. Louis Senior Fund, St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, and St. Louis Community Foundation. The Gateway Center for Giving and the United Way of Greater St. Louis serve as partners in this work.
The Fund was created to boost awareness of the U.S. Census in the St. Louis area, and explain its importance, particularly in areas and among populations that have traditionally been difficult to count. In November 2019, the Census Funding Group granted $430,000 to provide support to 30 trusted community-based organizations, centralized and culturally relevant communications and training, and other proven activities to increase participation in hard-to-count communities.
Historically undercounted populations include: communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities, low-income persons, persons experiencing homelessness, older person (60 and older), renters, persons with mental or physical disabilities, non-English speakers, young persons (18 years old and younger), and LGBTQIA + people. For this census, the government is using Complete Count Committees (CCCs) and partnering with local governments and organizations to better reach these people and inform them about the census and its importance.
The census provides an official count of the United States’ population and captures information about demographic changes over a 10-year period. The data is used to allocate federal funding for a number of key initiatives including roads, schools, hospitals and more, as well as determine fair and proportional representation in the U.S. Congress.
Obtaining a complete count in St. Louis will be challenging. In the 2010 census, 43 percent of the local population lived in hard-to-count communities located primarily in the northern half of the city and county, and in East St. Louis and surrounding areas.
As a result, the St. Louis region lost a congressional seat and millions of dollars in federal funding. In fact, for every person undercounted, it is estimated the State of Missouri forfeits $1,272 in federal dollars. Another key point to remember, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot share individual information provided with anyone. Your census response will remain confidential.
Starting in mid-March 2020, individuals can respond to the census online at www.my2020census.gov from a computer or mobile device. Beginning in April, a hard copy that can be mailed in will also be available for households who may have limited internet access. So, look for the U.S. Census form in your mail. Fill it out, and stand up and be counted!
Interested in learning more about the U.S. Census, visit www.2020census.gov.