To our community,
On Monday, the United States Census Bureau announced a shortened timeframe for the 2020 Census. This curtailment will almost certainly result in an inaccurate census count, which is bad news for our region.
The fallout from an inaccurate 2020 Census will be felt across our community until the next census in 2030, and the reverberations will affect our region and its people in the decades that follow. The census numbers impact our political representation and are used to determine our allocation of federal funding for school lunch programs, health clinics, transportation, and other important services. These dollars are significant. An undercount of the City of Houston’s population by one percent could result in a loss of $250 million in federal funding over the next ten years.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents enormous operational challenges for the census count. Recognizing these challenges, the Census Bureau previously extended the deadline for field data collection from July 31 to October 31. This week, it reversed course by announcing a new deadline of September 30. Given this shortened time frame, the count is all but certain to be incomplete.
In response to this week’s announcement, Houston Endowment, along with over 500 of our foundation peers across the country, submitted a letter to the United States Department of Commerce requesting that the deadline for field data collection be restored to October 31. Yesterday, alongside my colleagues from The Bauman Foundation, California Community Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Ford Foundation, we published A New Move to Limit the Census Will Harm Virtually Every Cause.
Now is the time for our community to urge leadership to reconsider and reinstate the October 31 field data collection deadline to provide the additional time needed for a more complete count. The bureau’s own release states “The 2020 Census belongs to us all.” We urge you to make sure you are counted 2020census.gov and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same. Working together, we can ensure that #HTownCounts.
Ann B. Stern
President & CEO
The Houston Endowment