How Local Governments Benefit from Citizen Participation in the Census

Photo courtesy of Census Bureau

April 1 marked Census Day 2020, as officials started to take count of all residents in the United States. As of April 5, the Census Bureau has reported a 25.9% self-response rate amongst the citizens of the Huntsville population, well under the state response rate of 39.7%.

Based on the data collected, the government determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, while also keeping track of how our country is living to distribute federal funds.

“As far as importance for local communities, the census is vital to gaining the proper representation in the U.S. Congress,” Assistant Professor of Political Science Eric Svensen said.

Local communities like Huntsville benefit from participation by their citizens during the census.

“The framers of our Constitution saw the census as a way that people could have a voice in their government by giving representation to each district with a given number of people,” Councilmember Paul Davidhizar said. “So, it gave the citizens a voice in the government by being counted. That’s why it is so important that there are accurate counts, and we all participate in the census.”

According to the United States Census Bureau, participation in the census allows cities and communities to receive adequate funding to build schools, supermarkets, homes and hospitals.

“If we can get our population to [50,000 or more], it will open the doors for our community to receive aid in getting more affordable housing and more social programs with federal funds,” Councilmember Blake Irving said.

While the census only takes place every 10 years, it is an action that is put in place by the government to help advance local communities and the nation. To learn about the Census, please visit the Census Bureau website.

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