The 2020 Census and Why It Matters Today

Believe it or not, the country is already gearing up for the 2020 Census.  Between the citizenship question, the move to electronic counting, and reduced funding for the census, many are concerned that the 2020 Census may underrepresent “hard-to-count” US residents.  Much is at stake for our community:

  • Over $11 billion in federal funds are distributed to Missouri annually based on census data: funding for Medicaid/Medicare/CHIP, Early Head Start/Head Start, Section 8 Housing, SNAP, Special Education Grants, and more are allotted to states according to the Census*
  • Missouri lost $1,272 per year for every person missed in the 2010 census*
  • Our representation – congressional districts and state house and senate districts – is determined by census counts
  • Census data informs planning by local, regional, and national private and public funders

Many of us work with those “hard-to-count” people, including young children, people of color, the homeless, and undocumented residents.  When these groups are under-counted, their families, communities, and neighborhoods are at a disadvantage. estimates that over 25% of the population in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District (St. Louis City and much of St. Louis County) lives in hard-to-count neighborhoods.

As nonprofits, if we prepare now we can help ensure that those we work with are counted in the Census.  From educating our clients and program participants about the importance of completing the census to providing the technology that will allow them to do so, we have a role in ensuring that the 2020 Census is complete.  Programs like the Complete Count Committees  provide resources, ideas, and support for communities to work for inclusion in the 2020 Census.  Stay tuned, too, to the St. Louis Community Foundation website for more ideas and opportunities to get involved.

For more information about the United State 2020 Census, visit the United State Census Bureau’s website.

*Alterman, Elina and Monroe, Keely. Census 2020: What’s at Stake for Missouri Funders; Gateway Center for Giving presentation, St. Louis, MO; August 2018