A fair and accurate 2020 Census means better health and healthcare for Georgians! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the goal of the 2020 Census is “to count everyone once, only once and in the right place,” and every 10 years we have only one opportunity to get a fair and accurate count of Georgia’s population.
The stakes for Georgia’s growing and diverse population are high, as the census directly affects our state’s economic vitality, legislative representation and the equitable distribution of government resources to our communities.
Why does an accurate count matter so much?
More than $600 billion in federal assistance to states, localities, and families is distributed based on census data. Every Georgian counted in the 2010 census brought an estimated $1,600 to the state for a total of $15.58 billion. Anything less than fair and accurate limits state funding for health and human services, further contributing to under-resourced programs that are unable to meet the demands of our population.
Historically, Georgians who go uncounted are most likely to be those who most need health and human services—children, ethnic minority populations, persons with disabilities, and older adults. Recent estimates indicate that approximately 22% of Georgia’s current population lives in “hard-to-count” neighborhoods. For our infants and children, the impact of a fair and accurate count is imperative. In 2010, Georgia ranked fifth in the number of persons age zero to four who were under counted — more than 40,000 persons. The state lost approximately $64 million in potential revenue due to this omission.
Let’s not passively allow for a census outcome that perpetuates health inequities.
As a statewide, charitable foundation, our resources are strategically allocated to organizations addressing the needs of populations and underserved communities. Our grantees continue to be under-resourced and challenged to meet the demands of those most likely not to be counted and most in need of healthcare and human services. Given the financial and policy constraints facing the U.S. Census Bureau, we must take an all hands-on deck approach to overcoming the obstacles to a fair and accurate count.
I call upon our charitable health nonprofits to leverage your credibility, trust, and leadership to raise awareness and motivate Georgia residents to participate in the 2020 Census. Let’s not silence the voices of the undercounted and passively allow for a census outcome that perpetuates health inequities. Let’s work together to make sure each voice is heard and each voice is counted.