Have you filled out your 2020 census questionnaire? It’s critically important that every person living in the United States responds to the census to ensure that our communities receive federal funding to finance public services and programs. For the first time, you can answer the 2020 census online, by phone or by paper through the mail. This major technology integration is the first of its kind and hopes to reach more hard-to-count populations across the country. The U.S. Census Bureau has identified the following populations as hard-to-count:
- Young children under the age of five
- Adults age 65 and older
- Renters and residents of multi-unit housing
- Racial and ethnic minorities
- People with limited English
- Low-income people
- People experiencing homelessness
- Immigrants (documented and undocumented)
- Individuals who self-identify as LGBTQ
- People with mental or physical disabilities
- Households that lack internet access
- People living in rural areas
Achieving a complete count in communities across the nation is important because, for each household that does not respond, federal funding could be lost. In the Kansas City metro area specifically, a 1% undercount could result in a loss of approximately $48 million per year over the next decade. An undercount would negatively impact critical services and programs such as Medicaid, public transportation, childcare, public education, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, affordable housing programs, and more.
Nonprofit organizations that serve hard-to-count populations are working as trusted messengers to engage with those they serve. The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly present unique challenges to these nonprofit organizations. Continued, unrestricted support is important now more than ever so charities can continue to serve those affected by the pandemic while still reaching hard-to-count populations in order to achieve a complete census count.
Authored by: Ashley Hawkins, Content Specialist