Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau takes on a doozy of a task: counting all the people living in the U.S. And it’s happening in 2020! From our bigger cities of Bozeman and Belgrade, to our smaller towns and unincorporated areas, each and every one of you counts.
Why Census 2020 matters?
Getting a complete Census count in Montana is critical because it helps determine Gallatin County’s share of federal funding for the next decade. The results of the Census are also used to determine whether Montana will get another representative in Congress.
If Montanans don’t respond to the Census, we end up with an undercount.
Here’s a true undercount story.
In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 14,390 Montana residents were missed in the Census count.
That meant that our state did not receive $22 to $49 million in federal funding.
An undercount such as this could mean that our community misses out on our fair share of funding for vital services and programs. It also means that we lack the data required for making good planning decisions in communities across our state.
For every Montana resident counted, the Census estimates nearly $2,000 per person each year in federal funding. That’s $20,000 per person over the next decade.
One missed person on the Census means that a community misses $20,000 of its share of funding.
A portion of that crucial money is used right here in our community. It provides funding for our schools, roads, services for seniors, public transportation, police and fire departments, community health programs, housing, and rural development programs, among others.
In 2017, the state of Montana received nearly $3 billion in federal funds because of Census data. That’s 40% of Montana’s budget.
How does the 2020 Census impact our voice in government?
The Census count results determine our representative government in two important ways. First, it determines whether Montana will get another representative in Congress. And, currently, we’re right on the brink.
Second, Census data is used to draw voting district lines that connect representatives to their constituents. In other words, the data matters in who represents you for the next ten years.
How can you make sure you’re counted in Census 2020?
Taking the 2020 Census will be easier than ever. In March, every household will receive an invitation to complete a short questionnaire. There are three ways you can respond. Call in by phone, send it by mail, or respond online. You can also visit several community locations to fill out and submit a Census form. For those who don’t respond, a census taker will follow up to assist.
Please help us get the word out.
Tell your friends and family that you plan to respond.