Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau carries out a constitutionally mandated count, or Census, of the nation’s residents. The U.S. population count is used to determine how much funding local communities and states receive for affordable housing funding, such as the Housing Tax Credit program (HTC), HOME, and CDBG. Stated by CPPP, “billions of dollars in federal aid depends on the accuracy of the Census, including significant support for health care, housing, transportation, food, and more. Being undercounted by even one percent in 2020 could result in a significant loss in federal funding for Texas – at least $300 million a year.” Additionally, the population count determines how many seats each state gets in Congress and state and local officials use the census counts to draw boundaries for congressional, state legislative, and school districts.
What are the consequences of undercounting renters and transitory occupants?
When renters and transitory occupants are undercounted, political boundaries and congressional reapportionment may not accurately represent reality. Undercounting results in renters and their communities being denied a full voice in policy decision-making. As a result, their community’s different needs may not be represented or prioritized according to their real share of the population.
Many programs that provide financial security for low-income families and economic development for their communities are funded based in whole or in part on census-derived data, including:
- Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program – ($19.1 billion) Section 8 vouchers are the nation’s leading source of housing assistance for low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children, helping approximately 2 million households to secure affordable rental housing in the private market.
- Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) – ($7 billion) The LIHTC is provided to those who develop low-income housing. Affordable housing developers used $7 billion in LIHTC in 2014.28 Through 2013, the program helped fund the construction of 2.2 million new units.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) – ($3.4 billion) LIHEAP provides assistance to low-income people to pay their energy bills. Around 9 million households received funding from LIHEAP in 2011 to pay their energy bills, including renters, who may receive different amounts of assistance based on which state they live in.30 In 2017, almost 20 percent of low-income renters will get a disconnection notice after missing a payment.
Over the last decade, Texas’ population grew an estimated 18% by the end of 2019. Looking forward, the Texas population is projected to grow another 18% by 2030. This translates to a need for an increase in the number of jobs, and funding for infrastructure and services to accommodate the expected influx of new residents. One way to ensure the state receives the proper amount of funding for public programs is by an accurate population count via the U.S. Census.
It is important for every Texas resident to fill out the U.S. Census to ensure programmatic funding and governmental representation is determined properly.
To understand more on how the U.S. Census affects Texas, see CPPP’s 2020 Census Blog.
Important Dates to Know
- January 2020: The Census Bureau begins counting the U.S. population
- April 1, 2020: Census Day – a nationally observed day. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.
- May 2020: The Census Bureau Takers begins visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to make sure everyone is counted:
- December 2020: The Census Bureau delivers apportionment counts to the president and Congress as required by law.
- March 31, 2021: By this date, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to all U.S. states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.
Ways to Respond to the 2020 Census
- By phone
- By mail
- By Census Bureau Taker (starting May 2020)
Who is required to respond to the Census Bureau?
- Everyone living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories is required by law to be counted in the 2020 Census.
Who to Count?
- Count everyone who is living in your home as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living or sleeping in your home most of the time. Count all adults and all children, including newborn babies residing in your home on April 1, 2020.
- For Special Circumstances, click here.
IMPORTANT: The Census Bureau is required by law to protect your answers. Your responses are used only to produce statistics. The Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information. To learn more about the 2020 Census, click here.