The Importance of the 2020 Census and How Congregations Can Get Involved!
"One of our goals in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas is to meet our neighbors and support our communities. Helping with the 2020 Census is one way we can do this," said The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and chair of EHF's Board of Directors. "By assisting in the count, we ensure our neighbors have the support and resources that they need. We are getting to know our neighborhoods so we can serve them better. We are serving our neighborhoods so they can better be served. Our neighbors count."
Together, the Episcopal Health Foundation and Bishop C. Andrew Doyle encourage congregations to join efforts supporting the 2020 US Census.
Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census to count every resident in the United States. The 2020 Census provides the basis for distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs — impacting health, housing, education, transportation, employment, and public policy.
Who should participate in the Census?
Everyone—regardless of citizenship. The purpose of the Census is to ensure everyone is accounted for, to provide accurate representation across the nation, but most importantly, for local communities.
2020 Census and the State of Texas
The 2020 Census is facing unique challenges given it is the first-ever online version of the Census. There is also a general lack of funding and scaled back preparation, and a large immigrant population who may be fearful of responding to the survey.
Current projections estimate anywhere from a 4%-8% undercount for the Census in Texas. According to experts, if there is even a 1% undercount in Texas, an estimated $280 million per year could be lost for health programs alone across the state.
"No sector is as dependent within the state budget in drawing down federal funds than the health sector, and those funds are based on population that's determined by the Census," said Elena Marks, EHF's president and CEO. "Health clearly stands the most to gain, and the most to lose if there's an undercount. No sector is as dependent on federal dollars."
The impact of the Census on health in Texas is clear. From political representation to federal funding for clinics, Medicaid, the children's health insurance program and much more, a complete and accurate Census count is crucial for community health—especially for low-income and historically underrepresented populations, which are often undercounted.
How Can Congregations Support the Census?
EHF encourages congregations to learn more about the basics of the 2020 Census, how the count can affect their community, and how congregations can get involved in promoting the Census in their communities.
The Congregational Engagement team has developed an online 2020 Census Information Hub for congregations interested in supporting the Census. In addition, you can watch our introductory webinar to learn basic information about the Census and how congregations can support efforts to get a complete and accurate count of all Texans.
Webinar on Episcopal Congregations and the 2020 Census in Texas
We’d love to connect with you and your congregation! If your congregation is interested in getting involved with the 2020 Census, we encourage you to join your local Complete Count Committee or seek out organizations locally working with the Census. If you are unsure which organizations serve your community, please contact us!
Important 2020 Census Dates
January 2020 Census Bureau Begins Count – The count begins with the populations in remote Alaska
April 1, 2020 Census Day Observed – Each home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census (response by phone, mail or online)
April 2020 Census Taker Visits – Visits to residences with large groups (college campuses, senior living, etc)
May 2020 Census Taker Visits – Homes that have not yet responded
December 2020 Census Bureau Delivers Counts to President and Congress