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The Census is a vehicle for empowerment. By making sure you and your neighbors are counted, you can influence democracy, public policy and the economy.
Our Democracy – The Census determines the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, electoral votes and is also used for redistricting.
Public Policy – Census data are used to annually allocate federal funds to states, local governments, and individuals. They are also used for planning for future community needs like schools and transportation.
Our Economy – The private sector uses census data to develop business plans and establish new businesses.
Every 10 years, the results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives and determine how many seats each state gets. North Carolina currently has 13 seats. Many people predict that the state will gain a seat if the 2020 Census count is accurate.
After each census, state officials use the results to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts, adapting to population shifts.
In FY2016, North Carolina received $23,750,523,730 through 55 federal spending programs guided by data derived from the 2010 Census, according to the George Washington Institute for Public Policy's Counting for Dollars project. More than $883 billion were allocated to all states that year. The top 15 programs according to federal dollars allocated in North Carolina are listed below.
Source: Counting for Dollars 2020, the George Washington Institute for Public Policy
*Low Income Housing Credit is a federal tax expenditures, whereas the other items in the chart are financial assistance programs.
View the full list of allocation of funds to North Carolina from 55 large federal spending programs. These federal assistance programs in include WIC, Title IV-E Foster Care, School Breakfast Program, Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments, Federal Transit-Capital Investment Grants and many more.
Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which, in turn, creates jobs and drives the local economy. They use census data for making decisions about where to market products and services or about developing new ones to meet the needs of rapidly changing populations. The data inform decisions by real estate developers about building new houses, apartments and shopping centers. In all of these instances, accurate data that reflects the true diversity of our population is most useful.
In addition to federal and state funding, an accurate census count is critical to local governments because census data inform a variety of policy and planning decisions. Planning for future local needs for schools, transportation, workforce development, health care, public safety, emergency services and affordable housing are some examples.
Completing the census is our civic duty. It is a way to participate in our democracy and to advocate for the future of our communities. It's a way to say, "I count."
50 Ways Census Data Are Used