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Why does the 2020 US Census matter?

Between funding and representation, there’s a lot on the line.

HOUSTON — In 2010, “TikTok” was the top song of the year (not a popular social media app), Avatar was blowing up the box office and the population of Texas had just topped 25 million. 

Things have changed a bit in the decade since and that’s why the US Census is so important.

Every 10 years since way back in 1790, we’ve gone through the tedious process of counting up every person who lives in the U.S. Those counts have a huge impact, the most significant of which is representation, in Congress.

The House of Representatives has 435 seats and they’re divvied up based on population. 

States that are growing add seats, while states that are shrinking lose them. Texas, for example, grew its population by nearly 4 million people, which means we’re gaining two House seats

That gives Texas 38 in all. 

Our state is one of six to gain congressional seats. Seven states lost one.

The census also impacts how much money states, counties and cities get in federal help. We’re talking about everything from schools to hospitals to roads to public works. 

In fact, money for COVID-19 testing and CARES Act emergency funds was distributed based on the 2010 Census. The population count is also used for disaster response, like when a hurricane hits.

So between funding and representation, there’s a lot on the line. That’s why local leaders were so adamant that Texas participate in the Census. 

Aside from voting, it’s arguably one of the strongest ways to make your voice heard at the local, state and national level.