New 2020 Census Data: Here’s Why It Matters

The U.S. Census Bureau this week released the long-awaited results of the 2020 Census, which shows that Maryland’s population grew by seven percent since 2010 — from 5,773,553 people in 2010 to 6,177,224 people in 2020.

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 Census results determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the data is critical for drawing congressional, state, and local legislative districts.

Moreover, Census data drives 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.

An accurate Census count has a lasting effect on counties, particularly regarding the distribution of federal funds. Conversely, an under-counted population may lead to a significant decline in federal funding flowing to county governments or to county residents.

The timing of Census data, somewhat delayed by the pandemic, will make the upcoming district design an unusually compressed process. Despite this week’s release of raw, untabulated Census data, adjusted data won’t be available until September — according to the discussion on the Conduit Street Podcast earlier this year – leaving district-drawing commissions at every level with a short timetable to develop their final work.

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson explain the significance of new 2020 Census data for state and local redistricting, break down the nuts and bolts of Maryland’s redistricting process, and detail key timelines in the scramble to draw new boundaries in time for next year’s midterm elections.

Visit the Maryland Department of Planning website to access the summary population data for all Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

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