A campaign to make sure everyone in the City of Austin and Travis County is counted in the 2020 Census was launched April 1.
Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau oversees a survey of the whole country to determine population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Next year, between March and July, individuals will be able to respond online, by phone, or by mail.
The Census information guides the allocation of more than $800 billion in federal funding to programs across the U.S. that are crucial to the well-being of families and communities. If Texas residents are under-counted by even 1 percent, Texas could lose at least $300 million per year.
If people in Austin and Travis County go uncounted then the community could lose significant funding for Medicaid, Medicare, State Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP), Section 8 Housing, Head Start, National School Lunch Program, Special Education Grants and highway planning and construction.
Counting everyone can be logistically challenging. Very young children, immigrants, people who live in rural areas, people of color, people who move residences more frequently, and people who face language barriers, are often harder to count.
This year campaigners are concerned about a potential addition of a citizenship question added to the Census. This decision is pending and awaiting response from the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, the under-funding of the Census Bureau and changing demographics in the State could add up to a significant under-count for Texas.
During the first week of April, the City of Austin and Travis County joined other local communities across the country as part of a national day of action to promote the importance of the Census to everyone in the community.
Over the next year, the two authorities will join forces alongside the newly formed Austin-Travis County Complete Count Committee to raise awareness about the importance of the Census and get as many people as possible to participate.