Published Mar 31, 2020 by Kelsey Seeker
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Houstonians are approaching a deadline that will affect the region’s federal funding for schools, hospitals, roads and other crucial programs for the next decade.
The 2020 Census counts every person in the United States and then determines congressional representation, federal funding and important data for each state and region.
With COVID-19 forcing social distancing measures and delaying in-person outreach, the region's already challenging situation of accounting for historically hard-to-count populations is being exacerbated.
Harris County Response Rate
Ahead of Census Day on April 1, Harris County is trending behind the state and national average in the census count.
While the Census deadline isn’t until July, the beginning of April marks an important milestone in a region’s response.
As the greater Houston region responds to both the COVID-19 health crisis as well as the economic downturn, participation in the Census is more crucial than ever. Underrepresentation could mean fewer federal dollars for many Texas public services.
The Monetary Value of the Census
The results of the 2010 Census granted $101.6 billion to federal spending programs in Texas distributed by state and local governments, businesses, nonprofits, hospitals and households.
To give a few examples of how funding is distributed - nearly 25% of all of the Census-guided education funds to Texas went to the greater Houston region. Based off the 2010 Census, the state received $1.4 billion in Title I grants to local education agencies and the region received more than $346 million.
The Gulf Coast region also received 25.6% of the state’s share for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to find jobs and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.
Additionally, Census data is a crucial part of emergency response and recovery efforts that take place after natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey, informing the federal government where specific resources should be deployed, and allowing helping emergency planners to prepare for the potential impact of weather events.
Ensuring our region receives its adequate share of federal funds requires participation in the 2020 Census, which supports bringing opportunity for all Houstonians.
How to Improve the Region’s Response
The U.S. Census is critical to the continued growth of society, providing critical data used by lawmakers, business owners and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for communities.
For resources and information on how your company can support 2020 Census participation, click here.
The Partnership's COVID-19 Business Forum continues with a discussion around the Families First Coronavirus Response Act On April 2, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)…