Census provides benefits, growth for community

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

The United States Census, which occurs every 10 years, is concluding Wednesday, Sept. 30.

The goal of the U. S. Census is to report an accurate, one-time count of people living in a specific region. The reporting range covers the country and the individual states, right down to its counties, cities, and towns.

While residents are strongly encouraged to complete the census in order to provide an accurate count, what’s perhaps not as clear to individuals are the reasons why this is important.

The results of an accurate census will impact the community for the next decade as it determines federal funds, grants, and support for your area. An average of $675 billion per year in federal funds is spent on necessary local assets.

For a local community, the census is used to provide a better understanding for quality of life initiatives, such as libraries and local parks. Developers use the information to build new houses and revitalize older neighborhoods. 

The census count determines federal funding for schools, such as student lunch programs or assistance with college costs.

The funding also allocates over 100 social programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

For businesses, the data provides the means for new job opportunities, such as population size. Local trends and growth projections determine where to build factories, offices, and commercial retail, such as stores and restaurants that would benefit the community.

On a local government level, the information is used to provide accurate resources for public safety projects and emergency preparations. Funding for hospitals, medical clinics, fire departments, roads, public works, and vital local government programs, are determined for funding through census data. The census also determines the amount of elected officials needed for accurate local representation in congress.  

The benefits for the average resident? The larger the city’s population is according to the results, it makes the community eligible for new growth and expansion opportunities with more things to do, and more places to go.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As someone who has already completed the census, the whole completion process is easy to navigate, and the questioning is not intrusive past age, ethnicity, and residence status (own/rent, number of people in household). The entire process took less than 10 minutes to complete.

The 2020 Census can be accessed and completed by clicking the link found here.

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