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The 2020 Census is Important for Texans

The 2020 Census is more important for Texans this year than it has been for several decades.


Well, to begin with, it's required by the Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) that every ten years we count everybody. The data gathered from the census is used to, among other things, determine a state's representation in Congress. State population counts are used to determine the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives, so the only way to find out how many congressmen Texas gets to have is to count the people in Texas. But we'll get to that in a few moments.

The census data is also used by state and local officials to help determine congressional, state and local district boundaries. Census Bureau data was used to provide $675 billion in funding to 132 programs during the 2015 fiscal year. The data is also a major factor in determining funding for Medicaid, and undercounts could lead to underfunding for the program. Funding for new roads and improvements on local highways and freeways is largely determined by census data, and programs like school meals, educational programs, and public assistance programs all use census data to determine how much funding these programs receive.

YouTube Link: What Is The Census?

The 2020 Census at a Glance (PDF): EnglishSpanish/Español. Other languages are available here.

What's the problem?

Typically, the census is done by a door-to-door headcount. About one million people all over the country are hired (at a cost of about 8 billion dollars) to go out, knock on doors, and ask questions of residents. However, the problem with a door-to-door headcount is that it's very inaccurate. It tends to discount inner-city populations (who don't want to answer questions when people knock on their door), recent immigrant populations (a growing number of which don't speak English), and the homeless. Essentially, in a very real sense, a door-to-door headcount limits the ability of some people who arguably need to be counted the most to even be counted as people at all.

To combat this during the 2020 census, a new online version of the census can be quickly completed at whatever time is convenient for you. You can fill out your census form at the United States Census 2020

So why is it important for Texans this time?

To answer that question, there are a couple of factoids that need to be stated. There are always 435 total representatives in Congress (except under special circumstances, like when a state joins the Union). That means that after each census, legislative seats in the House of Representatives are reapportioned based on the state's population, with some states increasing their number of representatives, while other states may lose seats.

Since the last census in 2010, a large number of people have fled other states for various reasons, and many of those people have settled right here "deep in the heart of Texas". Granted that they are bringing their (typically blue) political views with them, which is turning Texas into a "battleground state", but that's beside the point here. With the population of states like California (53 representatives), New York (27 representatives), and Illinois (18 representatives) moving to Texas (36 representatives), a very real possibility exists that any of those states could lose representatives while Texas gains representatives. This effectively alters other areas, such as the Electoral College.

The 2020 census is important for Texas because we may pick up as many as two additional seats in Congress because of all of the people who have moved here from other places.

And that is a good thing.

Committee to Elect Darren Hamilton
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