Census Fact Sheet

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Importance of the Census

Every person counted in their community impacts ten years of funding, representation and allocation of public services and infrastructure

  • Federal Funds: For 100 people not counted, a community risks losing an estimated $1.2 million over the next decade for federally funded programs including: Medicaid and maternal and child health programs, Transit programs, Public housing assistance, Community Development Block Grants, Head Start, Title I Education funds and grants for special and vocational education
  • Political Representation: Census numbers re-draw boundaries for 435 congressional districts, 1,971 state senate districts, 5,411 house districts, city council, county boards, and determine which states gain or lose representation
  • Public Infrastructure: Government and businesses use census numbers to locate schools, transit, retail outlets, health centers and other resources

Inaccuracies in Census Counting

  • Approximately 6.4 million people were missed in the 2000 Census
  • An estimated 3.1 million people were counted twice in the 2000 Census
  • Estimated that $478 million in federal funds were lost from 2002-2012 due to 2000 Census undercount
  • 2000 Census missed an estimated 628,000 African Americans
  • The 2000 Census actually double counted some members of the non-Hispanic white population, overestimating the number of Whites by nearly 2.2 million
  • 2.3 million Americans are incarcerated in the United States and at risk of an undercount in 2010. African Americans are 7 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites

Racial Inequities in Census Counting

  • Groups with the highest risk of being undercounted are Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, low-income Americans, and the homeless
  • In 2000, the national undercount was 0.1 percent, but the black undercount was 2.8 percent - in other words, Blacks were 28 times more likely not to be counted than the average American
  • Fewer than 60 percent of African-Americans returned their 2000 Census questionnaire compared to 77.5 percent of white Americans
  • Latinos were 4 times more likely to be missed in Census 2000
  • Native Americans were 7 times more likely to be missed in Census 2000