Why The 2020 Census Really Matters for Rural Americans
John J. Green
Politics, United States
Don’t take it for granted.
As director of the University of Mississippi Center for Population Studies, I regularly talk to people about how they can use data to help their communities thrive.
The decennial census is particularly important – and the next one is less than a year away.
People living in rural and small town America in particular have much at stake in the 2020 census. Unfortunately, census participation tends to be lower in rural areas.
Our research network – including the State Data Center of Mississippi, Mississippi Kids Count Program and the Southern Rural Development Center – has been working to better understand potential barriers to census participation.
Legally mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census is an effort to count all people living on American soil for the primary purpose of apportioning political representation in the federal government. Census data are also used for drawing political boundaries for local, state and federal elections.
Government agencies must use decennial census data, often coupled with data from the American Community Survey, to help determine government funding for rural development, infrastructure and health initiatives.
Researchers focusing on rural America, like myself, are concerned with many issues that census data can help us to understand.
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