2020 Census: Why You Should Care

2020 Census - Putting the Pieces Together

The U.S. Constitution requires that everyone in the country be counted once every ten years, regardless of citizenship; this headcount is known as the Decennial Census. 

It is crucial that everyone in and around Rochester be counted to ensure our community gets the support that helps families thrive; the assistance that narrows the poverty gap; the help that it needs most. 

Get Your Fair Share

Money. It doesn’t grow on trees, but Congress does hand it out to states, counties, and communities based on Census numbers.

More than $675 billion in federal funding (some estimates are closer to $900 billion) is put to work every year to:

Money is distributed based on the population totals and demographic breakdowns (e.g., race, age, etc.) from your answers to the Census questionnaire. 

Population totals also determine how many congresspeople represent each state in the U.S. House of Representatives. States with higher population counts have more representatives.

Every answer counts.

According to a video put out by Rock the Vote, “For each person not counted, their community loses out on over $20,000 over 10 years. For a household or a family of five, that community loses out on over $100,000.” Monroe County consists of more than 300,000 households.** Millions of dollars are at stake.

Our community can only get its fair share of public money and representation from complete and accurate Census data that counts every resident once, where they primarily live. This includes newborns and young children, friends, immigrants, non-citizens, roommates, renters, other family members…

So be sure to count everyone who is living in your household on April 1, 2020. Otherwise, our community may lose the funding and representation it needs.

Consider the Ripple Effects

Congress isn’t alone in using Census Bureau data. Many different organizations use it in many different ways. For example:

      • Businesses use it to locate areas for new stores, factories, and offices
      • Restaurants use it to identify locations for new restaurants
      • City planners and developers use it to revitalize old neighborhoods and build new ones
      • Local governments use it to plan for emergencies, new schools and hospitals
      • Utilities companies use it to develop long-term plans for networks and additional facilities
      • Private agencies/community groups use it to set up assistance programs and provide services 

Job creation, improved housing, and access to services are a few extra bonuses our community can receive when you provide accurate data in your Census response.  

What to Do

      • Spread the message and encourage Census completion with everyone you know.
      • Respond to the Census for your household (or help the head of house do it).


More information on the 2020 Census can be found on our 2020 Census resource page.

“…900 billion (dollars) is the federal pot annually. About 73 billion (dollars) comes to New York state every year in programs…where population is one usually of several elements that makes—determines how that money is allocated.


There is a lot of money at risk.


But let me say this, we have representatives in Washington that provide us with the programs that bring that money in. If we don’t get the representation to begin with then we don’t get the programs…” 


>> Joseph J. Salvo, Chief Demographer, NYC Department of City Planning*

*Source: the Council on Foreign Relations panel discussion: “The 2020 Census: The Risks of Getting it Wrong”. Retrieved 2/7/2020 from: https://www.cfr.org/event/2020-census-risks-getting-it-wrong.

**U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS), 5-Year Estimates of Households, 2014-2018, sample data; describes the average value of person, household and housing unit characteristics over this period of collection. Retrieved 2/7/2020. For more information on the source and accuracy visit https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/monroecountynewyork/HSD410218#HSD410218.

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