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U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham talks with JMU Students in Democracy Matters course at the Census Bureau on January 30, 2019.

Post by Hannah McGann, JMU POSC & ED, ’21

The census plays a very important role in our governing system. The census will tell how many representatives each state will get in the House of representatives by counting the amount of people per household to make sure that the states get fair representation. The census helps to provide government officials budget for federal funds. Which are given out to support the local community, and local businesses. Federal funding that is given out to the community by counting the amount of people per household. The census matters because it supports decisions on where to build schools, how much money to give to school districts, hospitals, transportation infrastructure, and local police and fire departments.

Census-derived data determine how more than $1 trillion per year in federal funding is allocated to states and communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation and more. The census should matter for everyone in the community because it will assist in decision making that will provide the community with resources.

The census forecasts future housing needs for all segments of the population, attract new businesses to state and local areas, plan investments and plan urban land use, plan for faith-based organizations, create/ evaluate programs in different geographic areas. It also provides ideas to urban land use.

Census-derived data help determine drawing of school district boundaries, help with public safety and plan for future school projects. For those who have a disability it funding based on census data provides health and educational services.

Census data will be used to help plan for hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and locations of other health services. The 2020 census will help to determine factory sites and distribution centers.

The census data based on college students’ responses will determine how much federal funding the communities will receive over the next 10 years. Students in college towns use local resources provided by these funds. For example, roads, public transportation, and health services. College students should care about the census because we care about Federal student loans, Federal research grants, campus funding, campus improvements, like labs, buildings and classrooms, health and social services, and our future careers. (e.g., medicine, social work, nursing, science, research, or public health.) The Census also matters for college aged students because it assesses the potential for spread of any communicable diseases that us college students may get.

The census is also important for redistricting, fair representation, and funding. Census data determines the allocation of billions of dollars to support our state, country, and the community’s vital programs. Community members who are involved in city planning and real estate developers use the census to improve transportation and infrastructure, including affordable housing. Most importantly the census is in the Constitution.