Welcome to Mississippi Today's 2020 Census Guide:

Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a roll call of the public to understand the nation’s population. The census count looks at size, sex, age and race of each household, community and state in order to get an accurate snapshot of the United States. As of today, public resources and political representation distributed to these places are based on decade-old data from the last national count in 2010.

Over the next few months, every person in America will dictate how many dollars their state receives for things, such as healthcare, housing, food, education and infrastructure every year through 2030. Essentially, to get proportionate funds — for everything from emergency resources and roads to higher education — each person needs to be counted.

In 2016 alone, Mississippi received more than $10 billion in federal spending across 55 programs. But, according to studies, nearly 800,000 Mississippians — or about 27 percent of the state — live in what’s called “hard-to-count” neighborhoods and risk being left out of the count (learn more here). For data on how much money through federal programs goes to Mississippi, click here.

Stay tuned here for information on what to expect with this year's census count and how it affects Mississippians. View our timeline below for upcoming 2020 Census dates.

When does it happen?

How does it happen?

Once a household receives an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census by April 1st, you should respond in one of three ways. Census takers will begin visiting the homes that have yet to respond beginning in May through July.

Why does it matter?

The 2020 Census data will be used for the next decade to make decisions on how billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to hundreds of different programs. The data reveals where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, senior citizens, and children. The results are also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts,as well as the number of seats each state is assigned in the House of Representatives.

What does this mean for Mississippi, specifically?

The results of the Census will determine important and vital aspects of daily life of Mississippians,including hospital and clinic allocations, emergency response manpower, education and teacher funding, affordable housing locations and electoral representation.

A few of the many state and federal programs affected by the Census data:

• Medicaid and Medicare Part B

• Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)

• Housing assistance programs• Grants for schools, including funding for special education programs and teaching resource funding

• Infrastructure funding impacting both local roads and highway construction• Unemployment Insurance

• Head Start program funding

• National School Lunch Program

• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF)

• Wildlife Restoration

• Disaster relief preparedness, including hospitals and emergency response teams

• Public transit systems

• Federal Pell Grant Program

• Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

• Rural education programs

• Child welfare services grants

Where does the data go?

The Census Bureau gathers all the responses in each state, delivering apportionment counts to the President and Congress in December 2020.

Have no fear, under Title 13 of the U.S. Code the Census Bureau commits to keeping all your personal information confidential.

Any identifiable information cannot be released, even to law enforcement agencies.

Your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court

Our Coverage:

More Resources:

Some areas of Mississippi, such as Sharkey and Issaquena counties in the Delta, are entirely comprised of what’s called “hard-to-count” neighborhoods. This statistic shows what areas are at risk of being undercounted in this year’s Census.

The “hard-to-count” number is based on the percentage of households in a neighborhood that a Census worker had to visit in person in 2010 because the household didn’t mail its survey response.  The data comes from a project by the Center for Urban Research at the City University of New York. Visit their site to find your neighborhood:

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