April 1 is Census Day! If you haven't already filled out the census, please do at my2020census.gov, then let us know that you did here.
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With all the news understandably focused on coronavirus, why are we bothering to remind our community to fill out this once-in-a-decade survey? Word Up collective member Taylor Lampe (MPH, Epidemiology, '19) explains: The 2020 Census is still happening in the midst of coronavirus, and the U.S. Census Bureau is committed to safely collecting responses to ensure that everyone is counted. Many of us may be wondering, though, why does the 2020 Census matter when there are so many pressing coronavirus needs? In fact, completing the 2020 Census is a critical step that we can all take to support coronavrius response—and here’s why!
1. 2020 Census results will shape health-related surveys across the country.
Results of the 2020 Census will be used to inform the American Community Survey (ACS) in addition to almost every other national survey. These surveys provide information on income, employment, health insurance, housing, and more—all factors that shape health. Additionally, census counts are used to calculate population disease and death rates across the country. Cities and counties are already using these data to set health priorities and improve health equity. Accurate data will only matter more in the future as we work to strengthen communities after coronavirus.
2. Census data are used to respond to new public health threats—like coronavirus.
For example, in 2015, New York City used census tracts to determine Zika testing rate disparities across the city. During this new coronavirus threat, census data are being used to calculate counties with more at-risk older adults, testing rates by state, anticipated future outbreaks, and more. Full 2020 Census counts ensure that these numbers are more accurate for future resource allocation and public health response.
3. 2020 Census counts will be used to allocate health and economic funding.
The 2020 Census will be used to determine how to allocate local and federal health resources, such as programs like Medicaid, food assistance, and health departments. All these programs will continue to be critical for supporting coronavirus response and recovery, and an accurate count ensures the most funding possible.
Complete the census online, by phone, or request a paper application today!
Help prepare your community and the country for the best possible public health support for the next decade.