The official day for the 2020 census count is a few months away, and census employees are already beginning to prepare for the April 1, 2020, count. Here is what to know about why the census is important and how it affects local communities.

Understanding the process

1) Census questionnaire forms will be mailed out to every household beginning in March 2020. The form can be filled out online or over the phone beginning March 23.

2) For the first time, census forms can be mailed in or submitted online, over the phone or to an address canvasser who comes to the door.

3) Canvassers will follow up to nonresponsive residences to collect the census data through July 2020.

4) Results of the survey will be delivered to the president by Dec. 31, 2020.

Why is it important?

For every person counted, the federal government will allocate $1,578 to the state of Texas.

Federal assistance programs that distribute funds based on decennial data include Medical Assistance Program, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, foster care and special education grants.

“Our concentration is understanding who is in the housing unit, what is their relationship, and what is their race and ethnicity. ... We’re asking those questions so we can utilize that information ... to provide the resources that a lot of our communities depend on.” – Rebecca Briscoe, Houston Metro Area partnership coordinator for the U.S. Census Bureau