WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today applauded the inclusion of $3.8 billion for the U.S. Census Bureau in the government funding bill that Congress passed last week. The bipartisan legislation included an additional $1 billion more than last year’s funding to ensure greater accuracy of census data for communities in Michigan and across the country as the Census Bureau prepares to conduct the 2020 Decennial Census.
“The census directly impacts our communities, determining everything from our state’s representation in Congress to the amount of federal funding Michigan receives for everything from critical health care to infrastructure programs,” said Senator Peters. “These additional funds will help us get closer to the goal of counting all Michiganders so our state receives the resources needed to effectively serve our population and address the difficult challenges facing our state.”
An accurate count will ensure that Michigan receives the appropriate amount of federal resources for programs that support communities throughout the state. Population counts from the decennial census are used to allocate more than $14 billion in federal funds to Michigan communities annually.
Conducting an accurate count can be challenging, and Michigan is home to more than 800,000 residents who are considered “hard to count,” including some young children, African Americans, immigrant communities, and students. An inaccurate count could have serious consequences for Michigan’s budget. Estimates show the state could lose $1,800 of federal funds per year for every person not counted.
The census funding Congress approved last week will be used to bolster communications efforts and establish field operations dedicated to conducting an accurate count in urban, suburban, and rural communities. In addition to the increase in federal funding, the legislation directs the Census Bureau to significantly increase partnership and communication efforts with local groups and government officials, allowing for increased accuracy. The legislation also encourages the Bureau to consider increasing its partnership program staff and opening more local offices before 2020.
Peters is committed to ensuring a thorough, efficient and accurate census count. Earlier this month, Peters cosponsored the Census IDEA Act, legislation that would protect the integrity of the 2020 Census by requiring proposed changes to the count be properly studied, researched and tested by the Census Bureau.