The U.S. Census Bureau yesterday announced that will end all counting efforts on September 30, one month earlier than originally planned. With roughly 4 out of 10 Maryland households yet to be counted, the bureau now has less than two months to ensure a fair and accurate count.
In April, the agency said it would need until October 31 to accurately count all American residents due to delays spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the bureau says it will “accelerate the completion of data collection and apportionment counts” in order to meet its statutory deadline of December 31.
“We will end field data collection by September 30, 2020,” the U.S. Census Bureau said in an announcement. “Self-response options will also close on that date to permit the commencement of data processing. Under this plan, the Census Bureau intends to meet a similar level of household responses as collected in prior censuses, including outreach to hard-to-count communities.”
Census data is used to allocate billions of dollars in federal funding for education, health, transportation, housing, community services, and job training. Moreover, businesses and industries decide where to locate new facilities and services based on census data, creating new jobs and promoting economic growth.
The U.S. Constitution places the census at the foundation of our democracy by calling for a count of the nation’s residents every 10 years. The results of the census determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the data is used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
Approximately $375 billion in federal funding will be allocated to states and communities across the nation based on census data. Maryland will lose approximately $1,800 annually for every person not counted.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, Maryland’s 2020 Census Grant Panel awarded over $4 million in matching funds to local governments and organizations that serve hard-to-count communities. The Maryland Department of Planning distributed an additional $900,000 to jurisdictions that did not receive grant funding and to fund a statewide marketing campaign to educate residents on the importance of being counted.
An accurate census count, or lack thereof, has a lasting effect on counties, particularly when it comes to the distribution of federal funds. An under-counted population may lead to a significant decline in federal funding flowing to county governments or to county residents.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.