Why does the census matter?

Why does the Census matter?

Four months from now, every person in America will be asked to take part in a tradition that dates back to the 1700s: the once-a-decade census.

Census data is used to distribute more than $880 billion in federal funds to states, counties and cities for schools, roads and other services. An accurate census:

  • Helps ensure fair representation at all levels of government.
  • Directly impacts the funding your city receives over the next decade.
  • Helps with infrastructure and transportation planning.
  • Assists with emergency preparedness, disaster relief, and resiliency planning.
—Source: National League of Cities

The census matters to PSRC as well. It helps ensure our plans and data are based on real-world numbers about the people who live here.

Those numbers, in turn, to help businesses, non-profits and the public.

For example, when a restaurant owner wanted to find out if the racial and ethnic make-up of his employees mirrored the region’s population, PSRC provided Census data.

When a local transit agency wondered how much the population in its service area had grown since 2010, we had Census numbers to show them the increase.

Under federal law, personal information collected in the Census is confidential and can’t be used against respondents by any government agency or court.

The bureau can’t share census responses identifying individuals until 72 years after the information is collected.

Want to see census data for your community? You can find it on PSRC’s census web pages. They have demographic profiles for more than 200 communities in the region.