It’s time for the census: a once-a-decade operation in which every household in the United States will be asked to answer a short series of questions that will influence policymaking and planning for the next ten years. The U.S. Census is more than a population count; it’s a way to shape the future of our communities. To a fast-growing state like Texas, getting an accurate count of all residents is critically important to providing the services that Texans need. 

The results of the survey are used to determine how much funding local communities receive for key public services for the next decade. How much funding? Census Bureau data were used to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds to states and local communities for health, education, housing, and infrastructure programs during Fiscal Year 2015.  Accurate census counts ensure that funding is equitably distributed for numerous programs such as Medicaid, highway planning and construction, special education grants, the National School Lunch Program, and Head Start.

In 2016, Texas received nearly $1.4 billion in Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies, which support educational services at schools and school districts with high levels of children living in poverty. If an economically disadvantaged child is missed in the local census count, those funds will go to other areas. “If you miss these kids now, you miss them for the whole decade,” says Cassie Davis of the Center for Public Policy Priorities. (

Governments and nonprofit organizations rely on census data to determine the need for new roads, hospitals, schools, and other public sector investments. Census information helps health providers predict the spread of diseases through communities with children or elderly people. And when disasters hit, the census tells rescuers how many people will need their help. Census numbers help industry reduce financial risk and locate potential markets. The census stands as the single best source of information about the demographics and growth potential of the American market. (

The census is the foundation of fair political representation since the population count serves as the basis for how many seats each state gets in Congress. It is used to draw district lines for state legislative seats and other elected positions, including city councils, school boards, and some municipal offices. As the fundamental component of the districting process, it is the means by which the people are linked to representatives in government. We cannot realize our nation’s promise of equal representation without it. (

Stand up and be counted. Shape your future.


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